Food

Bonus Sunday cooking adventures: Beef stew

I smash the garlic my laying a large flat knife over one clove at a time and hitting it hard.  The garlic smashes and it is easier to peel.

I smash the garlic by laying a large flat knife over one clove at a time and hitting it hard. The garlic smashes and it is easier to peel.

When I was growing up with my two sisters and brother in Toledo, my mother used to make beef stew. And as I recall, she made it in a pressure cooker (before anyone knew they could be used for more sinister purposes).

I was really afraid of the pressure cooker. A big spray of steam used to rise out of it when she was cooking, and then I think she would put some type of stopper on it, or maybe it was the other way around. Stopper first, then steam. Does anyone know? I just know I always thought the whole thing was going to blow.

Cook garlic until fragrant.

Cook garlic until fragrant.

At any rate, stew was a treat. It always included white potatoes, and the carrots and meat with it were warm and good. This recipe from Cooking Light magazine is shown served with noodles, and it has a fancier name than stew, (but it still looks like stew to me). I imagine you could also serve it with rice. I think different families with different traditions serve it in different ways. Do any of you have stew traditions to share?

Even though stew always seems to have carrots and celery in it, I can’t imagine that the stew of my childhood was particularly healthy. This recipe called for chuck roast, which in general is fattier than beef made from a round cut, so I used half chuck and half round to cut out some of the fat. It still had very good flavor, and I’d make this stew again.

Not quite my mother’s but a pretty good substitute.

I cut carrots in half, the cut each half into quarters, then sliced to uniform size.

I cut carrots in half, the cut each half into quarters, then sliced to uniform size.

Beef Daube Provencal
adapted from Cooking Light magazine, October 2013

Ingredients
2 teaspoons of olive oil
12 garlic cloves, crushed
1 pound boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 pound stew beef cut from round, dredged lightly in flour
1 1/4 teaspoon salt divided (I omitted)
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 cup red wine
2 cups chopped carrot
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1/2 cup lower sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Dash of ground cloves
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves

Brown meat. It's better to do it in batches. I made a double recipe so there was really too much meat in the pan and it started to steam!

Brown meat. It’s better to do it in batches. I made a double recipe so there was really too much meat in the pan and it started to steam!

Method
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Heat a small Dutch oven over low heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add garlic; cook five minutes or until garlic is fragrant, stirring occasionally. Remove garlic with a slotted spoon; set aside. Increase heat to medium-high. Add beef to pan; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook five minutes, browning on all sides. Remove beef from pan. Add wine to pan; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add garlic, beef, remaining salt, remaining pepper, carrot and next eight ingredients (through bay leaves); bring to a boil.
3. Cover and bake at 300 degrees for 2 1/2 hours or until beef is tender. Discard bay leaves. Serve with potatoes.

Cooks note:  I didn’t try this, but here are instructions for cooking in a slow cooker: Prepare through step 2. Place beef mixture in an electric slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for five hours or until beef is tender.

We liked our stew with potatoes. How to you eat it?

We liked our stew with potatoes. How to you eat it?



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