I had it all planned…this week I was going to continue to discuss pastry and pastry washes. As a matter of fact, pie, is my topic for this month.
But, while at the market I found the most beautiful packages of beef stew meat yesterday and I got totally distracted. Did someone say, “Squirrel”? I’m afraid so. But, I promise… next week I will have a new chart for you…on…Pie Crusts! But, today, let’s talk about stew.
For me, stew is another cozy wintertime dish just right for cold drizzly days, when you want something on the back of stove simmering away and not needing tending every few minutes. A long slow simmer will let you spend quality time with family… or catch up on chores… or reading… and it scents the whole house with savory home cooked goodness.
But…to make a good stew takes time. Not so much prep time and standing over the stove time…but cooking time. There are some dishes that really benefit from long slow cooking. Like tomato based pasta sauces and pot roast, stew is one of those dishes. Unfortunately, our lives have gotten so busy in these times, Sunday is often the only day we have that we can afford the time of a slow cooked meal.
So, just in time for this Sunday… let’s talk stew. I love my stew recipe. Not just because it is delicious, but because when I make it, I make it because I love my family and friends. I want them to know I love them by making something that takes time, because…
time & care spent = love
Now, it does take more than love to make a good dish… so let me share with you three secrets to making the best stew!
♥ You must dry the beef cubes with a towel before seasoning them and dredging them in flour. This was my Mom’s rule… and she was right. You get the best caramelization, if you dry your meat first.
♥ Since the meat is dredged in flour, this stew’s sauce will thicken as it cooks and reduces. So, you should not need to add additional thickeners. For this reason, I especially love using Wondra flour for the dredge. If you haven’t used it before, please give it a try. It makes the loveliest gravies and sauces.
♥ This stew takes no less than 3 ½ hours to make and I typically plan for a 4 hour cook.
I would love to attribute this recipe to someone special in my past. But, I honestly don’t remember where I got the original basic recipe. It could have been a neighbor, or a very old cookbook belonging to my Mom. I only know this is the same recipe I’ve used to make stew since I was 16. The only change I’ve made to it, is I buy the beef stock and do not make it myself anymore. (The ones in the soup aisle are so very good now!) So… without any more chit chat…
Today’s Recipe is: Sunday Best Beef Stew