This week has epitomized the type of weather we’ve had this winter. We had fifty-degree weather followed by cold, wind, and snow. Yesterday screamed for beef stew. And it’d be great with the bread I made with my home-ground sprouted flour.
Beef stew is almost a perfect dish for me. When I make pot roast, my favorite things are the carrots, potatoes, and celery. The meat is almost an afterthought to my tastebuds. In my stew, I use even less meat and more vegetables. And that makes me very happy. Here’s the mise en place for my beef stew.
One of the things missing from my usual beef stew ingredients are peas. I love peas, and they are generally a must-have for my beef stew. I didn’t have any, so I left them out this time. I did, however, include them in the recipe.
As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I don’t like to buy what is called “stew meat.” The per pound price is often more than I want to spend, and packages do not always indicate what cut it came from. My grocery store had round steak on sale, and I bought a couple. One I left whole; I cubed the other for stew. Like this beef stew. I’ve also used London broil and chuck. Keep in mind that since you’ll be cooking low and slow, you can opt for a less-expensive cut of meat. In other words, the cost of the meat for this dish can be relatively inexpensive. And I don’t know about where you shop, but around here, the cost of meat seems to go up every day.
You can use whatever vegetables and herbs you like, but I strongly encourage using the traditional, or at least what seems to be traditional. These would be celery, carrots, onions, and the aforementioned peas. This time I added some mushrooms. When prepping your vegetables, cut them larger than you likely would for soup. The stew is cooked for hours, and you don’t want the vegetables to disintegrate into the stock.
I wanted to provide a cook time, and it’s a wide range. It all depends on several factors, including the amount of food, size of food, and your slow cooker. I’ve read many complaints that newer slow cookers run hotter than the older ones. This seems to be the case for the ones I have. Research and experience indicated my stew should be cooked on low for 7 to 9 hours. It was done to perfection in 6. And I really do mean perfection. It’s the best I’ve made in a long time.
The recipe is here.
International Bake Bread Weekend
You might remember that I established International Bake Bread Weekend last year. I have delusions of grandeur, so I can do that. You may also remember that my contributions bordered on abject failure. You can refresh your memory with this post.
Another year has come and gone, and next weekend—February 9-10—is the second International Bake Bread Weekend. There really are no rules except one: bake bread. It can be a loaf, boule, batard, or any shape you like. It can even be biscuits. And while you may be tempted to reach for the mix, try making it from scratch. I know it may seem daunting, but it really isn’t. It can be complex, or it can be as simple—and tasty—as mixing together flour, salt, yeast, and water.
I hope you’ll join us for International Bake Bread Weekend. It’ll be fun.© Copyright 2013 Ida Walker, All rights Reserved. Written For: The Enabling Cook