Sunday, February 23, 2014

Beef stew No.1452

This is my version of beef stew, calling it No.1452 because there has to be more than a thousand ways to cook up a beef stew! Also included is a party version for 25 guests where the ingredients measures and proportions can help you figure out how much seasoning to include in the small version.

It is much easier than it looks :)
Ingredients and prep:
  • 1 kg Roast quality beef.
    - Bigger cubes are more juicy
    - Smaller cubes are more practical for a party - you can skip the knives.
  • Brown the meat in a heavy frying pan in very small batches (6-8 pieces) to keep the pan temperature high. Else the juices run out before the meat is sealed.
  • 1 tsp Flour (yes, really, very little!)
  • Place all the seared meat into a large pot (cast-iron pot like Le Creuset works best), sprinkle the flour and stir it smooth.
Add the following ingredients to the pot:
  • 1.5 dl Sauce claire - Cubes from the store also called "Au Jus".
  • 4 dl Red wine - Bordeaux or Sangiovese for a hardy stew, Pinot Noir for more aroma.
  • Half an Onion - Small or large to your preference, Thais like shallots instead.
  • 300-400 g Carrots - Small ones is best.
Add seasoning (look at the party version for more accurate proportions):
  • 1/2 tsp dry Rosemary 
  • 1/2 tsp dry Oregano 
  • 1/4 tsp dry Basil 
  • 1/4 tsp dry Thyme 
  • 1/4 tsp dry Savory - optional, Americans and Brits especially like it
    - Fresh herbs are best of course: 1/2 cup fresh = 1 tbsp dry 
  • Black pepper - Whole corns crushed fresh is best
  • Salt to taste.
Cook on low for 1 hour semi-covered (to reduce some liquid). Stir often!

Add these remaining ingredients that should not cook long:
  • 200 g of fresh Mushrooms quartered, not sliced! - Any mushroom type to your taste.
  • 1/4 cup of freshly chopped Parsley - A little more for Italian parsley (big leafs)
  • 1-2 cloves of fresh Garlic chopped really fine.
Cook on low for another 30 minutes semi-covered (to reduce some liquid). Stir often! By now the volume should have reduced by a quarter to a third.

Serve with string beans to complement the carrots and mushrooms in the stew. Steamed potatoes or noodles in the West, rice in Thailand.

If you can plan ahead:
Let cool and refrigerate overnight. The sauce will gel better and the meat will pick up more seasoning flavor.

Ingredients for the party version - serves up to 25 (200 g of meat per person)

  • 5 kg Roast quality beef.
  • 2 tblsp Flour
  • 8 dl Sauce claire or "Au Jus".
  • 2 liter Red wine - note that a standard bottle is 7.5 dl. not 1 liter!
  • 2-3 Onions - or 6 shallots if you serve Thais!
  • 2 kg Carrots
  • 1 tblsp dry Rosemary 
  • 1 tblsp dry Oregano 
  • 1 tsp dry Basil 
  • 1 tsp dry Thyme 
  • 1 tsp dry Savory - optional, Americans and Brits especially like it
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • 1 to 1 1/2 kg of fresh mushrooms.
  • 1 cup of freshly chopped Parsley
  • 1/2 head of fresh Garlic.

Tip:
You can freeze your stew, but you will lose some herb strength. Upon warming up, you will need to add some wine to smooth the mix and a dash of Tabasco to boost flavors back up.

Bon appetit!

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