May 05, 2008

Beef Stew of Deliciousness +1

Last weekend we picked up some green beans and pearl onions at the farmers market, but never really got around to cooking them. I was thinking of doing a balsamic onion + chicken recipe that I've made before with good success, but wasn't really in the mood for it. Jennie suggested that we get some stew meat and make a beef stew...good suggestion. We went to our new favorite grocery store (the Jenifer St. Market - which has a FANTASTIC meat selection) and picked up some stew meat and a few other things that we had run out of, and I got cooking.

I based this on Tyler Florence's Ultimate Beef Stew Recipe, with a few changes. First off, I only used 1 1/2 lbs of meat (since I was adding a ton of extra veggies). The recipe called for a ton of flour, but it seemed like a waste as it was only going to lightly coat the meat. I only used 1/2 c as opposed to the 2 cups in the recipe. I used some of our dwindling supply of magic Steak Salt to season it, and I think the meat especially turned out very well. I used the rest of our bottle (3/4 or so) of cheap red wine for the pre-marinade. I know the rule of thumb is that you shouldn't cook with wine you wouldn't drink...but I don't drink wine anyway (especially red wine), and it turned out okay. Some of the people commenting on the recipe thought that the wine made the recipe very bitter...they just probably used the wrong wine. I also left out the grated orange peel, which many people did not like in the recipe either. On top of the potatoes and carrots called for in the recipe, I threw in our bunch of french beans (very tasty), the last of my creminis (my current culinary obsession - thanks Keith!), and half of our big bag of pearl onions. I love the way pearl onions taste, but I'll be damned if they aren't a pain in the ass to prepare their skins are pretty resilient. I forgot to add the peas, but all in all this was quite the tasty dish. Definitely a make again.

The main issue with it (also mentioned in the comments for the recipe) is that it doesn't thicken the way that the recipe suggests (or really, at all). Maybe if the full 2c of flour worked their way into the pot it might, but if it's just being used to coat the meat there's no way you can get all of it in (I had tons extra and I only used 1/2 c). I ended up adding some slurry as it went on to thicken it up a little, but it was still a little soupy when it was ready to be served.