October 20, 2008

This Stew Will Change Your Life

I do not kid.

Let me talk to you about stew for a second though, just so we can all be on the same page. Stew, sounds kinda gross. I'm not exceptionally carniverous and the idea of gravy has always kind of given me the willies, so the idea of a meaty filled gravy-ish stew hasn't always been numero uno on the dishes-I-crave list. But THIS stew has changed all of that. So much so that after I made it for the first time I demanded that Garrett try it and he was all, "Meh, no thanks, I don't really do stew." And now, he begs for the stew, people!

In summary, if you think stew is kind of gross or perhaps even only alright -- Please do not pass go, do not collect $200, and please reconsider and purchase these ingredients STAT!

This recipe is a Barefoot Contessa recipe, and has become by far a favorite dish in our house! The only caveat, it's bit time consuming. But please don't let that deter you -- just cook it on a Saturday or Sunday when you are going to be loafing around and sitting in front of the television. Once the initial work is done, the stew basically cooks itself in the oven for a couple of hours and you can go right back to catching up on your back episodes of Real Housewives of Atlanta. Except now your house will smell fabulous to boot.

I'll give you a cliffs notes version of this recipe because it really is that easy, and a printable version is at the end if you want, ya know, like professional instructions.

1. Step One: Marinate your meat
The recipe calls for 2 1/2 lbs of chuck, I have used up to 3lbs but at that point it gets a little. Get a great big bowl, place the meat in it along with 3 bay leaves and 2 smashed cloves of garlic and then pour your favorite bottle of red wine over the top. Let sit for at least 2 hours but up to overnight.

3. Step Two: Dredge and Brown Your Meat in Batches in a Large Skillet
This part is time consuming. My timesaver? A Ziploc bag. Throw your 2 Cups Flour, 1 TBS Salt and Pepper into a Ziploc and mix thoroughly. Add meat (while reserving the wine marinade) and shake for instant dredging. Brown meat in batches and with each completed batch place in the dutch oven (or pot) that you will ultimately cook the stew in.

3. Step Three: Prep and Cook Your Veggies

Carrots, Potatoes, and Onions, OH MY! Also, optional is 8 oz of mushrooms. I don't love mushrooms so sometimes I don't use them, but if you buy the pre chopped kind in the grocery store they are pretty easy to pick out. Cook these over medium heat in the skillet where you just browned your meat. Right at the end add garlic and inhale. Then pour veggie mixture on top of browned meat in the dutch oven (or pot)

4. Step Four: Simmering the Sauce
When the meat is done it is time to make the sauce. Add reserved wine marinade to the pan in which you just dredged the meat. Here is when you also add your Worcestershire Sauce, Rosemary, Chicken Broth, Salt, Pepper, and Chopped Sun Dried Tomatoes. Let this all cook together for a few minutes.

5. Step Five: Mix it All Together
Now that your sauce has simmered, pour over the top of your meat and veggie mixture. It won't look that appetizing right now, but here's where you trust me -- it is going to turn PHENOMENAL right before your eyes. If you are finishing the process in a Dutch Oven, stir, cover, bring to a simmer and place in a 300 degree preheated oven for 2 hours, stirring once. If you are leaving it on the stovetop in a pot, stir, cover, bring to a simmer and then check every 20 minutes for about 2 hours to make sure things aren't sticking to the bottom

Step Six: Eat with some delicious bread!
Even though this is my favorite step, it is the only step that I forgot to photograph -- which should be a testament to how awesome this is. Once it was done last night I was all, "Forget the Camera, Get in my belly!" And then the moment was kind of lost.

I wasn't kidding when I said Garrett begs for this stew now, and I think you will too once you try it!

Click here for a printable version of the recipe.

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