Today is Cookbook Sunday! One of my favorite days. Why? Because I get to randomly (or sometimes not so randomly) choose a cookbook from my shelves and mark one more off my list. It feels so nice...to cross one off the list.
I own some cookbooks which, once I cross them off the list, I will never use again. I'm just being honest here. I don't have the time to go into why I keep them if I'll never use them...that, I guess, is the subject for another post, or my therapist.
Today's cookbook tho, is one of my own. I call them my cookbook 'notebooks' and in them I have tried (most of them) and true (85% of them I love) recipes that I make over and over again. I ran out of room for a recipe box years ago, so I began sticking them all in a binder...recipes I wanted to try, to see if I liked them (it would make sense also, to try them and if they are not anything I'd make again, to toss them, like that naggin 15% , as my friend Mitzi does. Her cookbook notebook--and she has only one--is not bulging at the seems like mine is or are.)
You will notice how thick my notebook is....and also I typed that description years ago. I have moved salads to their own notebook and also my cousin Linda's recipes have gone with them. (My cousin Linda is a great cook and talks often of making her own cookbook. I actually OWN IT ALREADY, but in e-mail form, as I keep asking for this recipe and that one. It's a sneaky trick of mine )
This is Cookbook #2, Main Dishes and Sides, from which I am making my beef stew recipe.
It was chilly and rainy and gray and it just seemed like a good night for Beef stew. We invited our Friday Night Friends (The Miltons. It's a standard invite, if neither of us is doing anything we always eat dinner together on Fridays), so I would say that it's company worthy. Or maybe very close friend worthy. I mean, Beef Stew isn't something you would make for a dinner party, but, it's really, really good. The ultimate comfort food.
I am taking that back.....serve it to your company, serve it to anyone. Isn't it one of the most meaningful things in life, to sit around a good meal with friends and share conversation and laughter?
(tonight...Halloween night, it will be take and bake pizza's and friends)
I take Tyler Florence's Ultimate Beef Stew and adapt it slightly---I adapt it because I am usually running out of time. I serve it along side or over mashed potatoes.
The Ultimate Beef Stew
adapted from Tyler Florence
2-3 lbs beef shoulder, cut into chunks
8 fresh thyme sprigs, plus 4 sprigs (why he doesn't just write 12 is beyond me)
2 carrots, cut into 1/4 inch slices
6 garlic cloves, smashed
2 cups blanched and peeled red pearl onions
1 orange, peel cut in large strips
cloves, a few
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 bottle good quality dry red wine (recommended Burgundy)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil for frying, more to drizzle
3 T. butter
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 1/2 cups beef stock
1/2 lb baby carrots
1/2 lb garden peas
1 lb whit mushrooms, cut in half
Fresh flat leaf parsley chopped as a garnish
To make the marinade (which to be honest I didn't do, and my stew was PERFECT) (but you can do it if you have the time)
place the beef in a large glass or plastic container. Add 8 sprigs of thyme, carrots, garlic, red onions, orange peel, cloves, peppercorns, bay leaves and the wine. Mix well to coat, then cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.
Remove beef from the marinade and pat dry on paper towels. Heat the oil and butter with the remaining 4 sprigs of thyme in a heavy-bottomed saucepan on a high heat. When the oil begins to smoke, remove the thyme. Add the beef and brown evenly on all sides. Season with salt and pepper. Strain the marinade into the beef and stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up the flavorful bits in the bottom of the pot. Add bouquet garni and beef stock. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered until the liquid starts to thicken, about 15-20 minutes. Cover and cook on low heat for 2 hours.
( what I did was just brown the beef in oil and butter with some thyme springs and salt and pepper, then added some wine--not the whole bottle, maybe 1/3 to 1/2 of the bottle, and the beef broth, a bay leaf or 2, minced garlic, and yes, i did buy some red pearl onions, which I just peeled and put in the stew whole. I let it cook on the stove top for about 20 minutes. Then I stuck it in my oven for a few hours on 275-300)
After about 2 hours add the baby carrots, garden peas and mushrooms, along with a pinch of sugar to balance out the acid from the red wine. Turn the heat up slightly and simmer, uncovered for about 30 minutes more, until the veggies are tender. Season with salt and pepper.
(I just finished it off in the oven)
Garnish with fresh parsley and chives and croutons if you have them.
Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve the stew along side of buttery mashed potatoes.
The beef just melted in your mouth!!
I am linking this up to Cookbook Sundays (of course) And my own Cookbook Countdown (natch) and Weekend Cooking (my bookie friends). (wait a minute, I live in Nevada, Bookie just doesn't sound right.... Book Bloggers? That sounds better, altho I do believe Beth from Beth Fish Reads, has a ton of cookbooks too)