The Literate Chef

Posts Tagged ‘French Oven’

Papa’s Hearty Beef Stew a la Burgundy

In Beef, For Moms on the Go, Meat, Recipes, Stews on October 27, 2011 at 11:11 AM

Ready to Eat

Makes about 5 quarts-preparation time including stove-top browning is 1½hour. Total oven cooking time is 2½ hours. Please refer to A Hearty Stew for Those Chilly Autumn and Winter Nights for some preparation tips.

Ingredients:

1 cup of flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
5-6 lb. roast (bottom round is an excellent choice) cut into cubes of about 1¼ – 1½ inches
½ cup of canola oil
1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and coarsely chopped
5 cups of Pinot Noir or red Burgundy wine
1 quart of beef stock
2 lbs. of Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed to 1½ inches
24 pearl onions (about 1 lb.) outer skin peeled (see step 1 below)
1 16 oz, package of baby carrots
¼ cup of each of coarsely chopped fresh sage and fresh thyme
1 tbsp. whole black peppercorns, crushed
1¼ lbs. cremini mushrooms, stems removed, large caps halved or quartered
1 small (6 oz.) can tomato paste

Preparation:

1.    Prepare the onions – bring small pot of water to boil, blanch onions for 30 seconds, rinse and cool, cut off root end and peel outer skin layer.
2.    In the meantime, peel and cube the potatoes, prepare the mushrooms and chop the herbs and garlic.
3.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
4.    Add flour, salt and pepper to a gallon size Ziploc® bag.
5.    Add beef, about 10 pieces at a time, to bag and shake well to coat with flour.
6.    Heat canola oil in a large casserole, preferably enamel coated cast iron French or Dutch Oven.
7.    Add the floured beef cubes to the casserole and brown them in one layer without crowding, for 8 or so minutes on high heat, turning the cubes several times.

Browning the Beef

Fully Browned Beef

8.    Remove browned beef and set aside, add more beef cubes and continuing browning until all the beef is done. If beef sticks to the casserole, or the flour base begins to burn, add a bit more oil.
9.    Add the garlic and lightly brown in the remaining oil and fat.
10.    Add one cup of wine and with a spatula, deglaze the pot. Add a second cup of wine and continue deglazing.
11.    When the second cup of wine has boiled down for about 1 minute, return all of the meat to the casserole to coat it well. Reduce heat to medium.
12.    Add beef broth and stir well, cover and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes, stir well, cover and place in the pre-heated oven for ½ hour.
13.    Add the remaining three cups of wine and the onions, stir well and return to oven covered for another ½ hour.
14.    Add the carrots, herbs and black pepper, stir well and return covered to the oven, for a third ½ hour.
15.    Add the mushrooms and return covered to the oven an additional ½ hour.
16.    Add the tomato paste and return to oven uncovered for a final half hour ½ hour.

The Finished Product

When ready to serve the stew, serve it with a crust baguette and a good red wine, such as a Brunello de Montalcino.

A Hearty Stew for Those Chilly Autumn and Winter Nights

In General Articles on October 27, 2011 at 11:09 AM

As the leafs cascade onto the lawn in a profusion of yellow, red and brown and the outdoor thermometer dips below 60 degrees, it is time to resurrect the cast iron Le Creuset Oval French Oven  from the basement and cook up a batch of stew. We invested in our 8 quart French Oven a number of years ago and it has served us very well over many years of stew making.

Although there are smaller French and Dutch ovens, we find that this size is right because if you are expending the time and effort to prepare a stew, you might as well make a big one. That way you can break it down into small portions, freeze them and have dinner made in advance for several wintry nights. This should appeal to ‘Moms on the Go’, as well as working singles and couples. Also, for some unfathomable reason, stews always seem to taste better after being re-heated. So go for the big French or Dutch oven.

Making a stew requires a fair amount of preparation time, as well as cooking time, so obviously should not be attempted for that evening’s meal. When my wife and I were both working outside of the home and raising our two daughters, we made our stews on a fall or winter weekend afternoon. Now that we both work from home, we can create one practically any day of the week.

There are a number of steps involved in preparing a stew, so it is a good idea to perform these up front, in order to keep the process moving right along. Of course if you have a sous chef nearby, dividing the labor will be even more expeditious. Steps such as: chopping the garlic and herbs, washing and quartering the potatoes, cleaning the mushrooms, and par-boiling and peeling the onions in advance, will serve to ease the job of making a stew.

Another labor saving step would be to buy the meat already cubed, but that usually is more expensive and you may not get the freshest and best cut of meat, which is we why we prefer to buy the whole piece and cut it ourselves. As the season progresses, we will be adding more stews to the recipe list. In the meantime, good cooking and good eating with Papa’s Hearty Beef Stew a la Burgundy.

%d bloggers like this: