Thursday, December 8, 2011

It is cold out there....

Yes, we are now moving into the time of the year when the weather drops down and all you can think about is the kind of good food that will keep you warm. I was just about to head out into the weather this morning and all I could think about is what am I making for  I decided beef is what I will be preparing tonight. I try to prepare my meals as much ahead of time as possible but it does not always work that way. Considering that Thanksgiving just passed most people are avoiding turkey and any variation of poultry for a while.  Tonight's menu includes: beef stew with carrots, onions, and potatoes over white rice, corn bread, and homemade cookies for dessert. The best thing about this is more than half of the meal is in one pot. Quick tip to help with having the most tender meats when preparing dinner, if you purchase your meats by bulk when you break them down into meal sized portions, season and marinate the meat ahead of time. The marinades and or tenderizers only enhance the flavor of your meat but it helps even more when you freeze your meats with the seasonings already on them.  Okay folks I believe I have said enough for now...I may post a little more later today. As always in parting....Let's Eat!

Duh, I forgot to add the recipe for the beef stew that I am preparing charge it to my head and not my heart. I am still figuring this all out.

Beef Stew:

3 lbs. stewing beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 large onions, sliced
1/2 lb. large carrots, cut into 1/2-inch thick coins
3 large potatoes, in 1-inch cubes
4 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons flour (or enough to coat meat)
garlic and onion powder (for sprinkling)
1 quart beef stock
1/4 cup ketchup

This Beef Stew may be made in the Crock-Pot or on the stove top in a large Dutch oven, but for the best results, be sure your Crock-Pot doesn't boil; it should simmer lightly. Boiling will make the beef stringy and dry, will ruin the flavor of the broth and make the vegetables mushy - the results will be like stew from a can. Some Crock-Pots have probes which will allow you to set the desired temperature.
Sprinkle the beef cubes lightly with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and flour for extra flavor during browning.
When using a Crock-Pot for beef stew, for extra flavor, brown the floured beef cubes in olive oil before transferring them to the Crock-Pot.  Brown onions and add garlic towards the end of the browning but don't allow it to take on too much color. In a Crock-pot, add all the vegetables at the beginning; set the Crock-Pot to 170-190°F and leave to cook from 5-8 hours or until meat and vegetables are tender.
If using a Dutch oven, add the vegetables during the last 35 minutes of cooking and simmer until tender. Add a few tablespoons of flour at the same time to thicken the gravy, if desired. The gravy may also be thickened by stirring a a tablespoon or so of cornstarch into cold water before adding to the stew. Be sure to allow ample time for the thickener to cook before serving time to avoid a raw flour taste.
Extra vegetables can be added if you have them on hand. Turnips, corn, sweet potatoes, fresh peas and green beans are all wonderful additions. A pinch of thyme and basil and bay leaf can be added, too.
This stew tastes even better the following day after the flavors have a chance to blend in the refrigerator!

1 comment:

  1. Perfect timing! I have some beef stew meat in my fridge right now just waiting to be made into something great. I'm going to try out your recipe. Unfortunately, I think I have a fairly cheap crock pot, and I'm afraid it might cook too fast... but I'm going to try it on low and see what happens.

    I like your blog! Font is a little small, but otherwise, great content. :-) Hope you'll check out my blog as well.