Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Beef Stew with a zing

Momma loves winter meals that warm you through and through but they do not need to be bland.
Momma Explains: Perhaps, no time more than winter does the family savor sitting together for a comfort meal together. These meals are often old time recipes that bring back memories and a sense of warmth. My family loves stew but Momma's version has wine and tomato sauce. ( You expected brown gravy??) I serve this with crusty bread, and a rich wine such as a Rhone wine. The 2005's are drinking fine and if a Rhone is not available try something from Chile or Argentina. Check the wine rating and recommended food pairing. You want a rich hearty wine with this dish.Whatever wine you choose, use it in the recipe as well as the glass, and have a few sips yourself while cooking. Remember, if the cook is happy then everybody is happy.

Momma's Beef Stew with Zing
I make this in my Nesco roaster but a very large non stick pot or a La Creuset type casserole is fine as well. You need to stir this several times.

3 lbs beef round or top round cut into 2 by 1 inch cubes( or close enough)
3 teaspoons Montreal steak seasoning plus some kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper ( less if you do not like pepper)
olive oil, enough to coat pan
1/2 large onion chopped finely
3 cloves minced garlic
3 stalks of celery
2 large white potatoes cut into one inch cubes
Frozen bags of vegetables( I use string beans and peas)
1 heaping cup fresh peeled baby carrots
( you can play around with the types of vegetables based on family preference)

1 jar tomato sauce ( buy a good one) plus 1/2 jar water( minimum)
1 cup red wine

Coat bottom of pan with olive oil, heat up the oil. Add the chopped onion, garlic and celery and sprinkle with some kosher salt, allow to soften .
Coat the cubed beef with the Montreal Steak seasoning. (If you do not have this seasoning, mix Kosher salt, garlic powder, onion powder and pepper together but the balance is tricky.) I find the steak seasoning very useful in my spice rack.
Drop the meat into the oil and be careful not to splatter. Keep the heat low enough so as to avoid burning and spitting. Let meat brown on each side, turning till all sides are browned. Because the onion mixture is in there, the browning will be minimized. When browned add the tomato sauce, water, wine and pepper. Stir the mixture. Let meat simmer for about 1 and 1/2 hours, stir on occasion, then add the carrots, peas, string beans and potatoes. If the juice is getting low add more water. the potato starch will thicken it so check it if you can. You want the juice to dip the bread. Let simmer again for at least one hour. I will put this on and let it go for 4 hours but I can control my roaster temperature easily. You want to make sure that the potatoes and carrots are cooked through. You will need to taste your broth as it may need more salt and pepper. I like a saltier stew than most and add more salt than in the recipe, so adjust according to your own taste. Hope you have that bread ready and the wine poured. This is so good.

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