Sunday, July 13, 2008

Home cookin'!

I made stew last night. I was really looking forward to this. In fact, when I saw the bottle of red wine on the counter when I got here, I thought, "YAY! Special stew!" I'm not much of a wine drinker. Instead of pretending to be like the pros that actually know what they are doing, I thought I'd just take pictures of it while it was cooking and then when I plated up a portion for myself. Besides, stew is just putting everything into a pot, right?

If you try the recipe, let me know how it goes. I didn't really follow anything, just some advice from my mom.

My recipe:
  • Angus beef cut up for stew (Angus not required.)
  • small bag of baby carrots
  • celery (I forgot this one.)
  • jar of pearl onions...the itty-bitty ones, drained
  • carton of sliced mushrooms (They are clean and ready to go.)
  • can of corn, drained (Not necessary, but I felt like it.)
  • small bag of diced/chunked butternut squash (I used this instead of sweet potato, because I didn't want to double up on potatoes.)
  • small white potatoes cut in halves or fourths, depending on the size
  • crushed garlic
  • olive oil
  • 2 cups red whine
  • 1 cup stock
  • a big baggie and some flour
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika & chipotle chili powder
*A lot of people use peas. I only had a pea and carrot mix and already had carrots in the pot. No biggie. I like it with peas, the starch helps thicken the stock, but the corn does, too.

First, in a nicely sized baggie, I put in a few (or more) tablespoons of flour mixed with garlic powder, salt, pepper, and paprika. I tossed the stew meat in the bag, and coated it became!

Then, I heated some olive oil and the crushed garlic in the biggest pan I could find in this place. Once the oil was hot and before the garlic started to get bitter, I added the stew meat and browned it. You will have to place the meat in the pan, not dump it out of the baggie. That would be really bad, y'all. (It was at this point that I was reminded that I don't feel the heat down here until I start to cook--or move ever so slightly).

Once the meat was browned, I put in the wine and the stock. Vegetable or beef stock can be used. I forgot to buy stock, so I used some of the chicken stock I had for the quinoa I've been eating. It works, but beef stock would be so much better. Using two cups of wine definitely gives the stew a strong flavor, so if that bothers you, try one cup wine to two cups of stock. For any stew, though, you do not have to use wine. I happened to have it and wanted to to use it.

After it came up to temp a bit, I added the onions, butternut squash, carrots, and mushrooms. About 15 minutes later, I added the corn. I also added a smidge of chipotle chili powder at this time and little more salt--it needed it. About 30 minutes after I added the first round of veggies, I added the potatoes. That was a tip from my mom. She ran my Grandpop's restaurant/greasy spoon, and she is a great cook. I do not doubt her, so that is what I did. (I somewhat wish I came from a family of bad cooks. Maybe I would hate food. I'm just sayin'.)

I let it come up to a boil for a little bit....not long. In fact, by time I put in the potatoes, the stew was down to a good simmer. You want the juices to cook down a little (I like a thick stew), and you want everything to absorb the flavors. Be sure the veggies are cooked to your liking. In fact, I made this last night to eat today for dinner. It is always best the next day.

The good simmer.....yummmmmay!

Let's see, am I forgetting anything? Crusty bread with butter is a must have. This might be why I only eat stew a couple or three times a year. I will be freezing a good bit of it since it is just me and well, I try to not eat red meat more than once per week.

It feels good to cook again. I haven't cooked in four years. I'd explain why, but it is a long story. Now, I love to bake. But, I have no one to bake for, so I won't.

I used to cook for my friends a lot. I'd make a ton of food with lots of choices or I'd make a roast of some kind. I'd make a homemade chocolate fudge cake with homemade icing. They proved to be fickle friends, but it was fun.

Oh, what is that you say? You want to see the finished product a day later and tasting so yummy that it could produce a squeal? Here it is:


DBA Dude said...

Looks great on the plate - and it is always a good feeling to know that you have some fine home cooked food in the freezer.

Snigglefrits said...

I could have sworn I replied to this last night...

It looked yummy then and still does!

Insolublog said...

Delicious to the eyes and more nutritious than politics. Maybe I/we should post more recipes.

RT said...

I have three portion sized containers to enjoy over the next month. I also might make mince and tatties (no turnips)this weekend. :)

It was very yummy!

I must say that I'm glad to have proven to myself that I can still cook. I'm not doing really hard stuff, but it is very good and not full of crap I shouldn't eat. Politics is full of crap. HA!