So, I'm really sorry about slacking on the blog. You might remember we experienced a similar slow-down, reduced to a trickle and then nothing at all, while I was studying for my oral exams. Well, this dissertation is harder, and I'm more obsessed and worried and scared about it. So I'm not cooking much. (My 2 hot-plate kitchen doesn't help!) But I still eat, and sometimes other people cook.
My mom, for example. A few months back, for example, when it was still actually cold and I tore myself away from Paris to visit my family in Colorado. Whenever I go home during the winter, I always request this stew. This is the greatest beef stew I have ever had. The kind of recipe that's been perfect through years of use, slight tweaks here, and subtle substitutions there. It started out as a newspaper clipping, but my mom has, by now, made it her own. I've made other beef stews, but none compare to this one. When I post my mom's recipes here, I tend to leave them exactly as she wrote them, since I know I'll want a record of them just as they were passed down, complete with parenthetical asides (you can see where I get that from!).
My Mom's Beef Stew
1/2+ Cup of Flour
3 pounds beef sirloin, Cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes
4+ Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 Large yellow onions, thinly sliced (quarters)
2-4 Carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 Cups+ Beef Stock (I use "Better Than Bouillon" Beef Base) (because I have a big pot, I use 4 Cups)
1 Cup Dry red wine (burgundy, Cabernet sauvignon
1/4 Cup (small can) tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 -2+ Bay Leaf
4 fresh parsley sprigs (or parsley flakes)
1/2 teaspoon dried sage, crumbled
5-6 new red potatoes, Cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tblsp finely chopped fresh parsley (or parsley flakes)
Spread the flour on a large plate. Coat the beef with the flour and shake off the excess. In a large heavy nonstick pot (I use LeCreuset Dutch Oven) over medium-high heat, warm four tablespoons of the olive oil. Working in batches if necessary, add the beef (I add more oo and more beef) and brown evenly on all sides, 5-7 minutes. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to a plate.
Add the vinegar to the pot and deglaze over medium-high heat by stirring to dislodge any browned bits (hopefully, you'll have lots of browned bits because this adds flavor) from the pot bottom. Add the remaining one tablespoon oil and the yellow onions and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until nicely browned, about 15 minutes.
Add the carrots to the pot and saute until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Then add the beef stock, wine, tomato paste, garlic, bay leaf, parsley and sage and the potatoes.
Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the meat and potatoes are almost tender, 1-1/2 - 1-3/4 hours