When the weather forecast turned to permanent rain, and hard rain at that, I decided a beef stew was in order.
I bought 3 pounds of local grass-fed beef (liked the brochure) for just over $22 at the Bowl on Friday (yesterday). The trim was really quite good. I cut the pieces a bit smaller – maybe about 1 1/4″ or so – and trimmed off the remaining fat (very little) and silverskin. I salted the chunks where they sat on the flexible cutting mat, and sprinkled flour over them, and tossed them carefully right on the mat, so save washing one more dish (see “Lunch” below…). They got nicely, and minimally, coated; I usually have too much flour on meat, I think, and that gucks up the oil. Anyway, I used canola oil (from the fridge – we use it too slowly to keep it out b/c it goes rancid) and browned the meat in three batches, adding oil each time, and removing the browned chunks to a plate. After the last batch, I cooked two very large yellow onions, in large dice, till soft and sorta cooked, in the same pot, then returned the meat and juices, and poured over everything a bottle of Cantina Zaccagnini Montepulciano d’Abruzzo that we had found to be a bit corked when we opened it a few weeks ago. It almost covered the meat. I added perhaps 1 1/2 cups of water, two bay leaves (personally harvested, though by now dried) and a bouquet of several sprigs of thyme from the garden.
D thought we should have “everything” in the stew. I peeled and cut into 3/4″ chunks two long, fat carrots, and added them. I cleaned up and cut into similar sized pieces about 5 Yukon Gold potatoes, and added them. These must have cooked into the stew about an hour. I cut up a bunch of white mushrooms – big enough ones that I cut each into quarters for the stew – and let them cook in for the last 1/2 hour.
Aside from having too little salt (the only salt I added was when I salted the beef before cooking) the stew was delicious. The liquid was thickened just right, the potatoes creamy and tasty. I’m going to freeze a batch for upcoming stressful days when cooking will be difficult, and we will have a lot of the rest for lunches and Monday’s dinner.
I really spent most of the day cooking, it seems. For lunch I made scallion soup, a recipe from Saveur.
I noticed this soup when looking through my blog for last year (29 Dec) and then also noticed we still had some whipping cream in the fridge. So today when we were at the farmers’ market I bought the 5 bunches of scallions and two (b/c small) russet potatoes I would need for the soup.
Soup and sandwich – right? I made us sandwiches from 1/2 of the leftover grilled pork tenderloin from last night, and they were terrific sandwiches! I just put lettuce and mayonnaise on mine, but D wanted (as usual) dijon mustard on his. I also served us each a farmers’ market carrot. These have been most excellent this year.