Here on the Oregon coast, it’s windy and rainy. This kind of weather puts me in the mood for soup, stew, and hot noodle-y casseroles.
You know, comfort food.
Today it’s beef stew.
Step One: Get kids settled with a mountain of Legos.
Step Two: Crank up iPod.
Realize for the eleventy-hundredth time that you really should download the clean versions of Holla Back Girl and Hey Mama.
Step Three: Assemble the ingredients.
Onion, Butter, Flour, Tomato Paste, Beef Stock, Stew Meat, and half a bottle of Shiraz leftover from the last time I made beef stew.
Step Four: Chop an onion –
if you have an Onion Paranoid Husband whose mother scarred him by putting giant chunks of onion in everything she ever made and he developed an annoying onion-related gag reflex that has been vexing you for the last 18 years, then do your usual mental eye-roll at your mother-in-law, get out that choppy thing and chop the crap out of the onions. Actually, if I was in my old kitchen, I would have put them through the Magic Bullet. Mmmm….onion puree.
– and saute them in a half a stick of butter in your knockoff Le Creuset dutch oven that you got at Sam’s Club for $40, but which makes you feel fancy nonetheless.
While the onions are sauteing, mix a couple or three tablespoons of flour, the tomato paste, and the wine in a bowl.
Admire your daughter’s Alien Disco.
Admire Squidman especially.
Take a picture of your silly family being Squid People:
(yes, that’s a crib sheet doing duty as a tablecloth. It’s effective and classy. I am, in fact, known far and wide for my fine linens)
Step Five: When the onions are soft, or when you are sick of waiting around for onions to soften, add the meat (about 2 pounds) to the pot, season liberally with salt and pepper, and pour in the wine/flour/tomato paste mixture.
I realize that you could go a lot of different ways with this. For one thing, you could brown the meat before you cook your onions, and if I had felt like hassling with it, I might have done that. But I didn’t. Also, you could put lots of other veggies in it – carrots, celery, potatoes, parsnips, turnips, etc. I might have done that on a different day, but today I am craving meat, so I didn’t. You can do whatever floats your boat, people. Cooking is an art, so there’s no need to get all imprisoned by things like recipes.
Down with the tyranny of exact measurements!
Add beef stock, a little water, and toss in a bay leaf. I used one of those 20-ounce boxes of beef stock and a cup or so of water, reserving the other box of stock to use if the broth gets too thick.
Step Six: Cover and cook in a 350 degree oven for 3 or 4 or 5 hours, or until the meat is falling apart tender. Uncover for the last hour or two so the broth can thicken.
Serve over buttered egg noodles or mashed potatoes.
The color in that picture looks off. Huh. Oh well. It’s yummy, that’s the main thing.
Leftovers freeze well, if you are so inclined.
This post is linked to Mouthwatering Monday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, What’s Cooking Wednesday, Foodie Fridays, Food on Fridays, and anywhere else I can think of.