Weekend recipe – Beef Stew

Posted: February 18, 2011 in Food
Tags: , ,

OK. So I’ve decided that every weekend I’m going to post a favorite recipe. Today I’m going to post what I’m about to cook. Realize that my philosophy of cooking is that it’s more of an art form so forgive me if I’m not 100% exact here…
Beef Stew
My preface to this recipe is that I make it in an 8 qt pot and freeze most of it because it freezes really well…Bear that in mind when I give quantities…
Ingredients

  • 1 – 1.5 KG (2.5 – 3.5 lbs) of beef shoulder, cut into cubes (I cut it myself because the butchers tend to cut it into really big pieces and I don’t like that)
  • 2 big onions, very large dice
  • 2-3 HEADS (not cloves!!!) garlic, peeled
  • 4 medium-big carrots, cut into 1/2 in (1cm) chunks
  • 4 medium potatoes (this week I found a nice bag of baby potatoes which I’ll cut into quarters…), cut into 1/2in (1cm) chunks
  • 1 container of button mushrooms, cut into quarters
  • 1 medium sized leek, cut into 1/2 in (1cm) chunks
  • 4-5 stalks of celery, cut into 1/2 in (1cm) chunks
  • 200g tomato paste
  • 600g crushed tomatoes or diced tomatoes
  • salt, pepper
  • 5-6 sprigs of thyme
  • 3-4 dried bay leaves
  • dried basil & oregano
  • Oil (I usually use olive oil but you can use canola if you want
  • A cup or so of red wine (if you aren’t willing to drink the wine then don’t cook with it!)
  • Comments on ingredients
    This is what I’m using today, sometimes I’ll use celeriac and parsnips as well – or maybe not use celery – this is really a recipe of what’s available. The important thing is to cut all the ingredients to be about the same size.
    Instructions

  • In a large pot heat the oil over a high flame. Brown the meat on all sides in the oil and then remove to the side.
  • In the same pot (if you need more oil add – you don’t want the veggies sticking) fry the onions until the start to brown. Add the garlic and, when you can smell the garlic from the pot, add in the carrots, celery, herbs and leek. Once the veggies have all started to get some color add in the potatoes and give it a stir or two.
  • Add in the tomato paste and stir well. It should coat all of the vegetables
  • Add the wine and stir
  • Add the tomatoes and put the meat back in. Stir well.
  • Cover with water (cold water), season and stir well
  • Bring to a boil and simmer over a low-medium heat (it should be a slow boil) until the meat is fully cooked. Don’t forget to check the seasoning occasionally because as the liquid boils off the seasoning will get stronger.
  • Add the mushrooms and cook for another 10-15 minutes
  • General comments
    I like to cook this and eat it with fresh bread (sometimes I make and sometimes I go out and buy) because it’s just so good to dip the bread in the sauce. Like I said earlier I tend to make a lot and freeze it – re-heating is as simple as bringing to a boil and cooking for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, and then serving. If I’m not having bread I’ll serve it over rice or pasta. One general bit of advice that I made in the recipe – check the seasoning often but don’t make major adjustments till the end. It’s easy to over season something if you only check it at the beginning because as the water evaporates, the seasonings get stronger. But don’t forget to put some in at the beginning or the things in the liquid won’t get the benefit of seasoning while cooking.

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