The Dabble

-food with a side of life-

That’s The Way The Beef Stew Simmers (or Beef Bourguignon)

After a decent weekend, I feel that I can face this week with a shiny, happy outlook.

Just kidding, it’s blah outside and expected to get quite chilly again and I’m not a shiny, happy kind of person. Don’t get me wrong, the weekend was still nice. Greg and I watched the 1949 movie version of the Fountainhead…which like many book to movie deals (a novel by Ayn Rand in 1943), left out quite a bit of character building and pertinent information but was still worth watching. The next rainy evening we viewed several episodes of the Adventures of Pete & Pete, one of my “old” (1993-1996) favorite Nickelodeon shows that ran for 3 seasons about two brothers both named Pete. Top that with Sriracha bloody marys, made extra hot with habanero stuffed olives on the side…but Greg was not fond of the horseradish that the recipe called for and thought that the drink tasted more like cocktail sauce than a bloody mary. The Sriracha was, as always, a hit. For anyone not in-the-know about this hot chili sauce, it’s amazing and you should grab the bottle (or several) with the rooster on the front-that is if you are a fan of hot, spicy goodness. Bon Appetit did vote it the ingredient of the year.

Congratulation goes out to the Colts! While we don’t really watch sports, nothing seemed worthwhile on the other few channels we have so we saw that game and the loss the Vikings had yesterday to the Saints. I was rooting for the Colts (I am still a Hoosier at heart but I don’t really care about football). I was not partial to either team in the second game…Favre does seem like a nice guy but Drew Brees attended Purdue, my alma mater (as did Curtis Painter of the Colts). I might be one of the few living in Minnesota that wasn’t rooting for the Vikes. Quite honestly, I find it annoying about all the noise in the state about football (ever since Favre arrived…I remember that day and the non-stop media attention…ridiculous). Although, I do have to say that I’m glad to see decent players getting noticed over the moron athletes that draw attention for cheating and criminal activity, that’s what it seems like to me anyway.

Also this weekend, we ate classic beef stew (Beef Bourguignon) from Real Simple magazine. This recipe was simple, so simple that it was rather bland and I had to adjust a few things. The recipe didn’t say how much salt to put in and required quite a bit in the end to have any flavor. (Even Greg, who thinks I make some recipes too salty-I love salt-thought this needed more.) I know that turnips are a staple in this but next time, I might swap these out for potatoes. Be sure to use a quality red wine (Syrah or Pinot Noir) because that makes a huge difference. You know the old adage: don’t use a wine in a recipe that you don’t enjoy drinking. The salt issue was helped by adding beef broth. The recipe also asked that you throw out some of the vegetables after a few hours of cooking, which I thought was dumb so I left them in. Lastly, I added more butter to the egg noodles, which ended up tasting better when tossed into the stew and not kept separate. The entire stew was delicious over mashed potatoes but then again, what isn’t? I think the adjustments made for a tasty recipe. Greg approved.

Beef Stew
Beef Stew

Beef Stew (Beef Bourguignon)
Serves 8

3 tbsp flour
hefty amount of salt and pepper
5 lb. beef chuck, cut into 16 to 24 pieces (trim the fat)
2 tbsp olive oil
6 oz. tomato paste
2 stalks of celery, cut into 3-inch lengths
1 medium onion, cut into 8 pieces
750 ml bottle red wine (good quality Pinot Noir or Syrah)
½ cup beef broth (more for the days following as it will thicken)
2 bay leaves
8 to 10 carrots, peeled and cut into 3-inch pieces
1½ lbs. turnips or potatoes, peeled and quartered
12 to 24 oz. egg noodles
4 to 6 tbsp salted butter
½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped-optional

Preheat the oven to 325 and in a bowl, toss flour, salt/pepper and beef pieces. Heat the oil in a large pot (Dutch oven) over medium and (in batches) brown the beef, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the beef to a plate. Add the tomato paste, celery, onion, wine, broth, bay leaves and 1½ cups of water to the pot. Return the beef to the pot and bring to a boil. Cover and transfer to the oven for 2 hours.

Add the turnips (and/or potatoes) and carrots, cover and return to the oven for another 45 to 60 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. If the stew is too thin, simmer uncovered for 5 to 10 minutes, until thickened.

Twenty minutes before the stew is finished, cook the egg noodles according to the package directions and then add salt, butter and parsley. I added these directly to the stew instead of keeping them separate. I also added more salt in the end but do so to your taste of course. Remember to remove the bay leaves. This is also great over mashed potatoes or with crusty bread.


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