Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa, makes delicious food. I have all of her cookbooks and they are all well-used! I love that her recipes are easy to follow, and always turn out and look like the photo...not all cookbooks deliver in this way.
I have started making food for other people. I test-drive a recipe with my family, and if it is a hit, I make it for my client. I went to the butcher to buy the beef for this recipe as the last time I made a stew (years and years ago) I bought meat from the grocery store, and it was TOUGH. Now, this could have been because of me, but I wasn't taking any chances this time round.
I think the stew turned out wonderfully. The leftovers became very thick, so needed to be watered down some before it was heated up.
Recipe courtesy of The Food Network
Parker’s Beef Stew
• 2 1/2 pounds good quality chuck beef, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
• 1 (750-ml bottle) good red wine
• 3 whole garlic cloves, smashed
• 3 bay leaves
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• Kosher salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• Good olive oil
• 2 yellow onions, cut into 1-inch cubes
• 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut diagonally in 1 1/2-inch chunks
• 1/2 pound white mushrooms, stems discarded and cut in 1/2
• 1 pound small potatoes, halved or quartered
• 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
• 2 cups or 1 (14 1/2-ounce can) chicken stock or broth
• 1 large (or 2 small) branch fresh rosemary
• 1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
• 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
• 1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas
Place the beef in a bowl with red wine, garlic, and bay leaves. Place in the refrigerator and marinate overnight.
The next day, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Combine the flour, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 tablespoon pepper. Lift the beef out of the marinade with a slotted spoon and discard the bay leaves and garlic, saving the marinade. In batches, dredge the cubes of beef in the flour mixture and then shake off the excess. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot and brown half the beef over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Place the beef in a large oven-proof Dutch oven and continue to brown the remaining beef, adding oil as necessary. (If the beef is very lean, you'll need more oil.) Place all the beef in the Dutch oven.
Heat another 2 tablespoons of oil to the large pot and add the onions, carrots, mushrooms, and potatoes. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Place all the vegetables in the Dutch oven over the beef. Add 2 1/2 cups of the reserved marinade to the empty pot and cook over high heat to deglaze the bottom of the pan, scraping up all the brown bits with a wooden spoon. Add the chicken stock, rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables in the Dutch oven and bring to a simmer over medium heat on top of the stove. Cover the pot and place it in the oven to bake it for about 2 hours, until the meat and vegetables are all tender, stirring once during cooking. If the stew is boiling rather than simmering, lower the heat to 250 or 275 degrees F.
Before serving, stir in the frozen peas, season to taste, and serve hot.