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Friday, November 19, 2010

The Classic Beef Stew and a couple of others


You remember the story of the Three Bears...one ate the porridge and it was too hot...another ate the porridge and it was too cold...finally the third bear dug in and found the stew was pretty darn good! Reminds me of how people are never satisfied. Picky, picky, picky. Always looking for something more...

Well, check out the following recipes to see if you might be a classic beef stew fanatic who throws every thing in from the bountiful harvest, or if you are a French mushroom stew connoisseur sort of  person, or maybe even a stew purist and you didn't even know it!  Whatever kind of stew guy or girl you are...check out the three recipes below. I'm sure one will be JUST RIGHT for you!
Classic Beef Stew!
Prep: 35 minutes  Bake:  4 hrs
Serves 8, about 1 1/2 cups each

2 lbs beef stew meat, 1 in cubes
4 med carrots, 1 in slices
2 med onions, cut into eighths
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cans (16 oz each) whole tomatoes, undrained
1/3 cup quick cooking tapioca
1 ts dried basil
2 ts salt
Pepper to taste
1 package frozen green peas
8 small new potatoes, cut in half

1.  Heat oven to 325 degrees
2.  Mix all ingredients except peas and potatoes in Dutch oven, breaking up the tomatoes.  Cover and bake for a couple of hours, stirring 2-3 times.
3.  Stir in peas and potatoes.  Cover and bake 1 - 1 1/2 hours longer or until beef and vegetables are tender.
4.  Keep covered and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Beef Stew w/Mushrooms
Prep: 15 minutes   Cook: 45 minutes
Serves 8, about 1 1/2 cups each
2 lbs beef stew meat (sirloin cut into cubes)
2 tbs flour
4 tbs butter
2 tbs olive oil
2 whole shallots, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces cremini or button mushrooms
½ cup red wine
½ can beef consommé
Salt and pepper
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 tbs flour
1.  Sprinkle flour over meat and toss to coat. 
2.  Melt butter with olive oil and sear meat over high heat in batches.  When browned, remove to a plate and set aside. 
3.  Add shallots and garlic and sauté over medium low heat for about 2 minutes.  Add mushrooms and cook for 2 more minutes.  Pour in wine and consommé and a half can of water.  Add salt and pepper to taste and stir.  Bring to a boil and add back to the mixture the browned meat.  Reduce heat to low and add the thyme sprigs. 
4.  Cover and simmer for about 30 to 45 minutes.  Mix flour with a little water and stir.  Add to stew and allow to cook and thicken for about 10 minutes.  Turn off heat and allow stew to sit for about 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

Irish Stew for the Purist
Prep:  15 minutes  Cook: 2 hrs
Serves 8, about 1 1/2 cups each

3 lbs good stew meat, cubed
Flour
Shortening
Salt and pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups good red wine
About 4 cups water
20 small pearl onions, peeled
4 large carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces

1.  Salt and pepper meat. Dredge in flour, coating fully.
2.  Brown the meat along with the garlic in a fair amount of shortening on the stove top in a heavy pot.
3.  Add wine to the browned stew meat.
4.  Add about 4 cups of water.
5.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer about 1/ 1/2 hours.
6.  Add pearl onions and carrots and cook for another 30 minutes. Add more water if stew is too thick. Serve this stew with mashed potatoes.