Fall favorite: Beef stew

October 24, 2016

Beef stew over grits. Fall comfort food.

Beef stew over grits. Fall comfort food.

OK, so it was 80 today, I ran around in yoga pants and a T-shirt, and the Amazing Grandchild (whom I have again tonight because his mama has strep throat) went to pre-school in shorts.

Screw it. I made beef stew.

Quite GOOD beef stew, I might add.

There was some discussion on eGullet t’other day about chuck roasts and the cooking of same, and i got to thinking about the beef that needed to be cleared out of the freezer and decided I’d thaw a chuck roast. Thawed it Sunday with no real plan for what to do with it, but I also had these really pretty mushrooms. And little potatoes. And carrots. And plenty of red wine.

Yep, time for beef stew.

I cut the roast up in about 1-inch cubes, tossed it in some flour, salt and pepper, and browned it well in my Dutch oven. Took it out, tossed in two large-diced onions. Let those soften a bit, added some garlic confit and a sizeable glug or three of red wine (about a cup, I’d guess) to deglaze the pan. The beef went back in, followed by diced carrots, some fingerling potatoes (a mix of Yukon golds, redskins and purple ones, which I think are Peruvian) cut in half, and quartered cremini and white mushrooms. Added a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary, the leaves stripped off and chopped up, along with a healthy shake of herbs de Provence, a goodly portion of beef broth, brought it to a boil and let it simmer away for about three hours.

Didn’t have any bread, but wanted something starchy with it, so I made up some creamy grits to serve as a base. I’m used to doing that with carbonnades a la Flamande, but it works well with beef stew, as well.

We lapped up a bowl apiece for dinner. There’s a goodly amount left, so that’ll be my contribution to the soup potluck at church Wednesday night.

I might get ambitious and make bread, as well. I made some foccacine (which is foccacia but in little rounds, instead of a big sheet) last weekend to take to a dinner party, and it was pretty good, so I may go with that. It’s a recipe someone on eGullet gave me, and it’s a very wet, soft dough. I think, the way it rose, it would make nice slider buns or sandwich buns for panini. But it’s also great to tear in half and use to sop up the juice of a good soup or stew.

Here’s the recipe:

500 g flour
70 g of potato flakes (I used Bob red mill)
about 450 g of water
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt (more kosher or fleur de sel to spinkle on top if you like)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon sugar

Knead everything in the mixer for about 10 minutes. Let double in bulk and divide in 10 pieces. Let proof again for about 15-20 minutes on the bench sprinkled with flour, Flatten with your hands and make small indentations with the tip of your fingers and wet the top with a mix of extra virgin olive oil and little water, sprinkle with coarse salt and herbs if using. They go in a preheated oven at 425 F for about 15-20 minutes.

I have a digital kitchen scale that’ll weigh in metric, so I just measured everything that way. If you don’t have such, onlineconverstion.com will convert it for you. And for simplicity’s sake, I divided it out into 12 smaller breads. When I brushed the tops with olive oil, I sprinkled them with kosher salt and fines herbes.

You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em try this for a fine fall dinner. You’ll enjoy it. I promise.





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