...*a glimse into the daily life of a chef*...

...this blog is a place for me to record and reflect the passion that i put into my everyday life.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

gray skies=stew**

...there is nothing better than a nice hearty heart warming stew on a day when the clouds have blocked the sun and the rain just won't go away...so here is a basic beef stew that you just can't beat, really there is nothing better when you just need something warm and delicious...well maybe chicken and dumplings!

BEEF STEW------------------>                      THE FIRST STEP, the meat
start by going to the local butcher and asking him for stew meat, 
ask him to cut you something fresh in 1" cubes.
you will need 2 lbs.
 in a dutch oven or nice heavy bottomed stew pot;
put a few tablespoons of oil and turn the heat on high.
(You will need alot of heat to get nice caramelization on your meat and veg) 
When the pan is hot carefully drop in your meat in an even layer, 
***this is VERY IMPORTANT!!! do not move your meat around,
drop it and let the meat caramelize,
you have to just let it sit, once it is browned turn the pieces over***
You will need to control the heat to keep it hot enough to brown the meat but not burn the pan....just turn the heat down and up as needed, pay attention----

While the meat is browning:
Chop up---->
1 lg. white onion (or 2 small)
3 carrots
3 stalks of celery
3 parsnips
1 sweet potato
2 russet potatoes
1 or 2 turnips
1 lg. red pepper
1 lg. portobello

After the meat is turned over;
 add in your onion, portobello, carrot and celery
At this point you want to start to brown the veggies to enhance the flavors 
and create a nice fond on the bottom of your pan

((***Fond: is the stuff (caramelized meat juices) that starts to brown and stick to the bottom of your pan when what you are cooking releases its own natural juices....this is what gives GREAT flavor to soups and stews!***))

You don't want to cook your veggies all the way just start to cook them, at this point add 3 T butter and 1/2 c. of flour to make a little rue in the bottom of the pan to help thicken the stew and give it great flavor. when you have that all mixed up and the flour is coated in butter deglaze the pan with 2 c. red wine. Make sure to scrap the bottom of your pan with a wooden spoon to get all that goodness from the bottom into your stew, then add the rest of your veggies, cover with water, add 2 bay leaves, 6 sprigs of fresh thyme, 1 T. fresh cracked black pepper, and 2 T. salt. Then let this all simmer on med-low until the meat is tender, re-season with salt and pepper and you are good to go. Serve it up with some nice bread for dipping and a really big spoon, curl up in the couch with a blanket, bring the bowl close to your face so you can smell it, and REALLY really REALLY enjoy it!

GOODBYE gray sky blues...HELLO STEW!

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