It was a typical Sunday morning at our place. I got up early and walked on the treadmill for a bit before starting the coffee and our customary breakfast potatoes. Then I curled up on the couch with some coffee and my latest read, “Hollow City.” (Fantastic book by the way. It’s the sequel to Riggs’ “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” – our most recent book club book which I also really enjoyed. Yes, I’m in a book club. Booze, Babes, and Books. Ha!).
After a bit Mike got up and we had breakfast – roasted potatoes, a bowl of pineapple, and a delicious egg in a hole with Trigo’s Bakery sourdough bread. Mmm. The bread was delightful and I’m so glad Trigo’s is at the Haymaker Farmers’ Market now. Good stuff.
Mike worked on the bathroom and I organized the mail, paid some bills, and worked on Mike’s 2013 “books.” Ugh. Quickbooks. My arch nemesis. I loathe it. And every year I procrastinate even though every year I tell myself I shouldn’t. It’s my way. I’d say I work well under pressure but that isn’t true. I’m just a procrastinator.
And since it appears the damned polar vortex is here to stay and I had that awesome sourdough bread from Trigo’s I decided it was a good day for stew.
I use venison when I make stew since we always have it in our freezer. But of course you can use beef. Heck, maybe I’ll just share my recipe with you. It’s easy. And delicious.
Barton Farms & Gardens Meaty Polar Vortex Stew
2lbs cubed meat (I cubed up two small venison roasts. If you’re using beef I would suggest a round steak or some chuck or something like that. Something good and meaty).
Flour for dredging
1 medium onion, chopped (Leeks are also great in stew. I didn’t have any though).
2 garlic cloves, smashed & chopped
2 c. red wine (I used a zinfandel cuz I had it on hand. A cabernet would be good too).
6 c. water
2 beef bouillon cubes
a couple of carrots, chopped
couple of potatoes, chopped
salt & pepper to taste
Heat up a couple tablespoons of oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Dredge your meat in the flour and shake off any excess. Add meat to the hot pan and brown. Work in batches – if you add all the meat and crowd the pan you’ll end up just steaming it and you won’t get that nice brown outside. After each batch remove the meat with a slotted spoon and put in a dish to the side.
Once you have browned all the meat and set it aside toss your onions into the pot. Stir frequently and cook for about 5-7 minutes until they’re soft. Add your garlic and cook just another minute or two. Pour in your wine and deglaze your pan. Allow the wine to gently boil until it reduces by about half. Stir frequently and be sure to scrape up all those browned bits on the bottom of your pan. (I know this will make me sound like a pretentious ass but seriously – deglazing the pan and scraping up all that fond is how you build layers of flavor. It’s super important for a good soup or stew. And since it’s so important it shouldn’t sound pretentious. So I take that back).
After your wine has reduced add your water and your bouillon cubes. Reduce the heat to medium and leave it alone. Uncovered. Let your stew cook for several hours and stir it every now and then. It should reduce and thicken. If you notice it’s not thickening to your liking you could add a cornstarch/milk slurry to help it along.
Now you can add your carrots and potatoes. Put your lid back on the pot and cook until your potatoes and carrots are fork tender. Taste your stew and then season with salt and pepper until it’s up to snuff.
Ladle it into a bowl and dip some warm, crusty bread in it. Mmm….
Take that polar vortex!