Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween Beef Stew

OK, back on topic:

You need about two pounds of stew meat, two cups of flour, salt and pepper, a pound each of diced carrots and diced onion, a couple of celery stalks (also diced), and two pounds of cubed raw red potatoes with the skin on and 2-10 cloves of chopped fresh garlic (how much do you like garlic?). For liquid, you can use canned or boxed beef broth or if you are very very cool, use the frozen stuff you made yourself. Pull a bottle of dark beer out of the fridge. Don't drink any. You'll need the whole bottle.

Get a big deep, heavy bottomed pot and put about 1/4 cup of some kind of clear oil in the bottom.

Turn the heat up under the pot.

In a big zip lock baggie, combine the flour and 2 Tablespoons each of salt and pepper. Put your meat in the bag and zip it shut. Shake it around until all the meat is covered in flour.

Working in batches, with a large plate close by, place the meat in the bottom of your very hot oil covered pan in a single layer. You are searing the meat. Not cooking it. It'll still be raw in the middle and that's OK. When batch #1 is seared on all sides, remove the meat from the pan and put it on the plate. Add a little more oil to the mess in the pan and repeat the process. Keep doing this until all of the meat is seared. Note: this is a messy, splattery, stinging process. That’s OK. If your oil isn’t making a fuss, you won’t be searing anything. HOT is GOOD. Also, a pair of long handled tongs are essential to your success.

That chunky brown stuff in the bottom of the pot is magically delicious. Dump the onions, celery, and carrots into the chunky brown stuff and stir it up. Cook for 4-5 minutes and then add the potatoes and garlic. Cook another 5 minutes with the lid on and then gently pour in the beer. Bring to a healthy simmer and cook for 10 minutes with the lid on. Stir again and make sure all that chunky brown stuff has been scraped off of the bottom of the pan. Pour in 3-5 cups of beef stock (depending on how thick you like your stew) and stir gently. Bring the mixture back up to a simmer and add the meat. Stir gently. Simmer for one hour. Or a little more than an hour. In fact, now may be a great time to take the kids trick or treating.

After you've let it sit for awhile, your stew will probably still look like soup. Turn the heat up a bit and stir for 3-4 minutes. Leave the heat turned up and put the lid back on for 10 minutes. The next time you look at it, the liquid will have thickened considerably and it's probably ready to eat. If you want it thicker, stand there and stir it until it looks like you like it to look.

Your house now smells like heaven. Go enjoy your righteous stew.

Good job.

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