Friday, October 2, 2009

Rainy Day Stew

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I spent in bed, wiped out with the flu. As I lay there, listening to the rain fall on the roof, my thoughts were of all the food I wanted to be cooking for my family on these rainy days of fall. This morning when I actually felt as though being vertical was an option my body could afford, my thoughts were of stew.

This super easy, super tasty stew began with grass-fed beef I bought at the Geneva Green Market from CC Angus Beef. I have never tried grass-fed beef and was a little leery of the testimonials I've heard. I've been told it tasted completely different than corn fed, was an acquired taste and that some just didn't like it. I decided stew meat was a good place to start. Inexpensive as grass-fed goes and easy to disguise if its flavor was not well received. I am happy to say the rare bit of my grocery budget dedicated to beef, did not go wasted. The flavor (it had flavor!) was rich and clean. Fresh from the package it didn't have any of that weird smell that I often detect, in even fresh(?) organic beef.

A few ingredients, most of which are always at the ready were all I needed.

One of the beauties of this recipe is that the time consuming step of browning isn't necessary. Everything is tossed together in a heavy casserole or dutch oven and lightly covered with foil.
While it spent 5 hours of the afternoon in the oven, I was able to accomplish tons of what had been rattling around my head. I got the house in order, unearthed Halloween decorations and took down the remainder of summer deco, did two loads of laundry, vacuumed, dusted, checked email, picked up Ella and Hen, got Jake from XC practice and stopped at Williams-Sonoma and the bank. Those would be a mere 10 additional beauties of this recipe.

Out of the oven and on the table with quick muffins and homemade applesauce (again!). Jake was thrilled - it's one of his favorites and perfect after a cross country run in the rain.

Slow Cooked Beef Stew
Sarah Leah Chase's Year Around Cookbook - with minor modifications

2 1/2# lean beef stew meat, cut into 1" cubes
12 oz. carrots cut on the bias
1# baby new potatoes, I used Yukons but reds are nice for color, halved or quartered
3) small or 1) large onion, quartered
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. celery seed
1 t. thyme
2 t. salt
2 t. freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups tomato juice
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 T. Dijon mustard
2 T. brown sugar
1 1/2 T. tapioca

Pre-heat oven to 275 degrees. Be sure your oven is accurate at this low temperature.

In a large casserole or dutch oven combine the beef with all the vegetables and season with salt and pepper.

Whisk together tomato juice, wine, Dijon, brown sugar, garlic, celery seed and thyme. When thoroughly combined whisk the tapioca into the liquid. Add this mixture to the seasoned beef and vegetables, stirring well to combine.

Cover the pan lightly with aluminum foil and cook 5 hours, without peeking. Serve immediately or refrigerate overnight and re-heat the next day.

Yield: 6 generous servings


Georgine said...

THis was the perfect meal for yesterday. I swear, I will try it, who doesn't love beef stew! Even I do!

Donna Brazill said...

Oh, that sounds delicious.... I can't wait to make rainy day stew. I don't even think I'll wait for rain ;)