Tuesday, December 5, 2006
BUTTLOAD OF BEEF STEW
2 lbs beef: feel free to use any cut of beef you like, don’t limit yourself to the stew cut in the grocery store.
24-36 oz domestic beer: I like Rolling Rock or Session best
2 lbs potatoes:
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut in a medium dice
1 large russet potato, unpeeled and cut in a rough chop
3 small Yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled and cut in a medium dice
3 small red potatoes, unpeeled and cut in a medium dice
1/2 finely diced medium-sized white or yellow onion
5 cloves finely minced garlic (try using The Garlic Twist)
2 finely diced medium-sized shallots
3 sprigs fresh rosemary, washed but on the stem
2 tbsp dried Italian herb blend
2 tbsp raw honey
6 oz tomato paste
salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste
Cut beef into bite-sized chunks and place in a stockpot with the beer, uncovered over medium heat until the mixture reaches a boil. Lower heat, cover stockpot and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add sweet potato, Italian herb blend, honey, onion, garlic and shallots. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the rest of the potatoes, the fresh rosemary sprigs and tomato paste. Simmer for another 20 minutes and add salt and pepper to taste. Remove rosemary stems before serving.
THE STORY BEHIND THE RECIPE
I always loved beef stew, especially in the fall and winter when it gets cold. Nothing sticks to the ribs and is as satisfying than chunky beef stew, crusty sourdough bread and a crisp salad. But I always found myself frustrated with how little meat there was in canned beef stew—I wanted meat in every bite! And I have some weird aversions to the mushiness of cooked carrots and other typical stew vegetables so I created my own version. This is a great dish to cook on a cold Saturday afternoon and it freezes beautifully.
I don’t recommend using microbrews because they tend to have too much hoppiness or other flavors that translate into strange and bitter aftertaste in the stew.
To truly make this a big ass beef stew, you want to portion your beef and potato poundage equally.
Do you love carrots in stew? Parsnips? Green beans? Then throw them in! Just remember that if you are adding a lot of other vegetables, you show increase the amount of beef or decrease the amount of potatoes proportionally.
Are you in love with your crock-pot? Throw all the ingredients in at once and crock away.
The only fat in this dish comes from the meat, so the leaner the cut; the friendlier it is to the low-fat dieter.