Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Homemade Beef Stew

Fall is upon us and my comfort food desires are back.  Basically because from now until about next May, I will be chilled to the bone as I like to say.  And nothing warms you up and says comfort food like a steaming hot bowl of homemade beef stew.  This is the precise definition of a stick to your ribs kind of meal.  One that warms you all the way through.  From way down inside and all the way out.  And, to be honest with you, this is a first of two for me.  A first time making it and a first time to ever even try it.  So, I thought that I would just feel my way through it and use my own way of cooking and seasoning to make it my own.  And I will be the first to say, right before my husband, that my homemade beef stew is delicious.  It was everything I was looking for.  It was warm and hearty and every bit as savory as it could be down to the very last drop.

1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
1 tsp. of dried basil
1 tsp. of dried crushed thyme
1 tsp. of garlic powder
1 1/2 lbs. of beef stew meat (pre-chunked)
2 T. of bacon grease (if I didn't have this, I would use a good e.v.o.)
1 bay leaf
1 medium vidalia sweet onion (chopped)
7 small carrots (peeled and chopped)
2 large celery stalks (chopped)
12-14 small petite red potatoes (a strip peeled horizontally off the center-leaving the top and bottom still skinned)
sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
2 T. of real un-salted butter
6 small cloves of garlic (minced)
1/2 cup of red wine (I drink sweet, so I cook the same with Lambrusco)
32 oz. of beef stock
1 tsp. of dried oregano
4 T. of cornstarch (divided and used to preference)
1 tsp. of fresh rosemary (snipped)
1-2 T. of fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley (snipped)
sour cream
1 loaf of fresh baked Vienna bread (found in your markets bakery)

-Mix together the flour, basil, thyme and garlic powder in a quart-sized ziploc bag.  Working with 6-8 piece batches, add in the stew meat to the bag, seal it and shake to coat the meat.  Meanwhile heat up your bacon grease in a large stockpot over high heat.  Drop in your seasoned flour coated stew meat and saute' for about 5 minutes or so, making sure to stir it up often to get a nice even browning (you are looking for a nice dark bark).  Then add in your onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, some salt and pepper and the butter.  Saute again for about 5-6 more minutes and toss in your garlic.   Stir in your wine next to deglaze the bottom of the pan and then follow with your beef stock.  Bring this to a nice boil, stir in the oregano, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 30-45 minutes (the longer the better).  Using only 1 T. of cornstarch at a time along with about a little less than a 1/4 cup of water, fork whisk together a slurry to add into the simmering stew (this will thicken it).  You can then judge and control the body of the stew (I used 4 T. for mine and even thought of going thicker still with maybe 2 more).  You can cover and simmer for later, transfer to a slow-cooker or serve at this point.  Just stir in the fresh snipped rosemary right before serving and garnish the top of each bowl with dollop of sour cream and  a sprinkle of parsley.  Serve with some soft Vienna bread and butter.  Serves 4.  Enjoy!


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