When a snowstorm is raging, and temperatures have plunged into the single digits, my advice is to make a French beef stew. As it simmers quietly, the stew will fill your kitchen (and probably your entire house, too) with the comforting aromas of thyme, red wine, garlic, and caramelized meat. Here’s the step-by-step:
Note#1: Normally I use a cast iron skillet for browning meats and vegetables. But yesterday, for the sake of experiment, I used my non-stick electric skillet, heated to 350°F. The appliance worked like a charm.
Note #2: For this slow-simmering stew, the cheapest beef is the best beef. I used boneless chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes.
Note #3: Baby, it’s cold outside. Let’s rattle some pots and pans!
Then run outside to your potting shed, shivering all the while because you neglected to wear a coat, and retrieve some of the hard-neck garlic you grew last summer.
Now deglaze the skillet: Add some red wine, and, using a heat-proof spatula or wooden spoon, stir it about while it boils, and scrape up any stuck-on (and highly flavorful) bits of meat and veggies. Tip the deglazing liquid into the big pot.
No pictures of these next two steps: Bring the stew to a boil. Then reduce the heat, cover the pot, and let the ingredients simmer quietly — it should bubble only slightly — for 2 hours. The stew is done when the meat is meltingly-tender.
Shall we make a voluptuous sauce for this stew? I mean, a sauce that’s so delicious you’ll be tempted to drink it as is?
Bring the liquid to a boil.
Tip: Want a thicker sauce? Add more cornstarch blended with cold water.
Then dive right into this fragrant, soul-warming, rapturously delicious stew, which, quite honestly, was no trouble to make. Serve it over brown rice, boiled potatoes, or egg noodles. Or, spoon it over a thick slice of toasted Sourdough Boule (recipe here).
Need a printable version of the above? Your wish is my command:
Folks, Thyme and Wine Beef Stew is home-cooking at its best. I hope you’ll try it someday. If you wish, you can cook the stew on Saturday, refrigerate it overnight, and then reheat and serve it on Sunday. Yes — it’s a stew that will wait for you.
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