I’m always a little let down after the Holiday’s pass. It seems like we spend weeks on end enjoying a food marathon in warm family filled houses, but now it’s back to work and the regular old routine. The cold in particular makes it hard to get back into the swing of things. My office is really quiet and empty and it makes me really want to go home cuddle under a blanket with something warm to eat. Nothing says comfort quite like Beef Stew. It is so hardy and is really only enjoyable when it is good and freezing outside. I’d like to share my basic recipe for stew. Stew is another one of those great dishes that you can customize or improvise when you don’t have all the exact recipe ingredients. There are few important things to try and accomplish when you prepare stew. You want to have nicely browned meat that is fork tender. Sometimes stew meat can look kind of boiled and gray, which is very unappetizing. You also want a thick flavorful gravy, and something delicious to soak it up.
The cheddar chive biscuits, I can’t really take any credit for. I’m going to give away my ultimate lazy cook secret. Bisquick Drop Biscuit Recipe!!!! I know that it really doesn’t take much to make a biscuit from scratch, but sometimes I just don’t have the brain power at the end of the day for measuring all the separate ingredients. You know those five whole ingredients in a biscuit. It seems silly, but taking the flour and the baking powder, etc out of the pantry is some strange form of torture for me. It makes me feel cluttered, and I always spill. When I bake, my kitchen ends up looking like I tried to make pastry for a thousand and all I really made was biscuits for four. So, I avoid this situation whenever possible. The Bisquick recipe really doesn’t even require measuring. You just kind of dump it into the bowl and then add milk until you get the right consistency. Then you just add some shredded cheddar, a few teaspoons of diced chive and some cracked pepper. This is not even a recipe, but it is a great weeknight quickie and no one will hate you for it. I promise you that everyone, no matter how great of a cook they become, finds that one thing they just don’t like to do and when you find that thing; don’t fight it. You can avoid it, farm it out to someone who loves it, or cheat. I’m outing myself today as a hater of biscuit baking (and a few other things as well) and a proud cheater. So let’s make some stew.
Classic Beef Stew
1lb Stew Meat (pre-cut)
1 Large Yellow Onion
2 Large Carrots
1lb Creamer Potatoes
2-4 Cloves of Garlic
1 C. Frozen Peas
2 C. Water
1 C. Wine
1 Bay Leaf
1 Tbsp Four
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley
1 Tbsp Granulated Garlic
1 Tbsp Granulated Onion
Salt and Pepper
- Clean and chop all of your vegetables and set aside. A large dice for the onions, large slice for the carrots, if the potatoes are small simply wash or cut into 1inch pieces, finely dice garlic.
- Take the stew meat and lightly season with salt and pepper and coat with four. In a large, heavy pot heat olive oil on medium/high and add meat to brown. Let the meat sit in the pot without stirring in order to get a nice brown color. When the meat comes away without sticking turn over and brown it on the other sides. Then remove the meat from the pan and set aside for later.
- Add garlic, carrots, and onions to the pan and saute until the onions are translucent. You may need an extra drizzle of olive oil if your meat was very lean.
- Add wine to the pot and de-glaze the pan. (De-glazing is when you add room temperature liquid like wine to a pot that has the bits of meat and vegetables stuck on from the heat. The difference in temperature will un-stick those bits and you can use a wood spoon to scrape them off the bottom to get all the flavor and prevent burning.) Let the wine reduce just a little then add your meat and potatoes to the pot. (Choose a wine you like the taste of. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should be something you like to drink. You are going to end up with a really intense flavor and you don’t want to magnify something gross.)
- Add water to the pot. You need to make sure the the water covers the ingredients. Add your additional flavorings of granulated garlic and onion, bay leaf, chopped parsley, salt and pepper.
- Simmer on Medium low with the lid on for 35min. This should be enough time for your potatoes to soften and your gravy to thicken.
- After 35 min has passed, remove the lid and turn up the heat to med/high to reduce any excess liquid. Add the peas at this time and cook for approximately 10 min.
- Serve with delicious cheater biscuits