January 6, 2012

Recipe Corner: Beef Stew

A hearty, simple, satisfying dish that’s perfect for cold winter days in Brooklyn. Much of its rich flavor comes from lots of slowly cooked onions.

2 pounds of beef, cut into 1 ½ inch cubes, trimmed of excess fat, and patted dry. (Any type of beef works as long as it isn’t too lean. Inexpensive cuts are best for this recipe; chuck roast, for example, is great. Lamb or goat is delicious, too).
3 large onions, roughly chopped
1 hot pepper, minced, or hot sauce
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
Lemon juice
Fresh thyme
Black pepper
Cayenne pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make a seasoning mixture of salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. You’ll need a full two tablespoons of it. (Kids love to grind pepper with a pepper grinder, and making and tasting spice mixtures is a good way to get them involved).
2. Heat up a tablespoon of olive oil of vegetable oil in your thickest oven-safe pot at medium high heat on top of the stove (a Dutch oven is the best for this, but any sturdy pot with a lid will be work).
3. Have kids wash and dry their hands, then sprinkle the spice mixture on the beef and mix it with their hands. (A great opportunity to reinforce the importance of washing hands before and after handling raw foods).
4. Brown the cubes in batches in the hot oil. Do not cook the beef all the way through; don’t leave the cubes in there for more than 3 minutes. The cubes should have some brown bits on the edge, but be raw on in the inside. Return beef with pan juices to the same bowl the beef was seasoned in; because you’ll completely cook it later, this is safe.
5. Take all the beef out, and add the onions to the pot. The brown bits on the bottom of the pan are packed with flavor. Add just a touch of chicken stock or water, and stir around like crazy, scraping up everything on the bottom of the pan. Salt the onions. Lower heat, cook onions for 10-15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 5 more minutes.
6. Put everything back in the pot, add chicken stock or water up to the level of the beef. Add thyme if you have it, and squeeze half a lemon (white vinegar can be substituted).
Cook for 21/2 more hours, lid on, in a 350 degree oven. It will be very tender.

Serve as is, over egg noodles or rice, or my favorite way: with French bread, with a little grated Parmesan on top of the stew.

No comments:

Post a Comment