Oh, how I love a full weekend! A weekend of good food, good friends, and good crafting. And along the way, a little extra dose of rest.
We kicked this one off with a small dinner party for old friends, which is the perfect way to start any weekend. I made not one but two stews for our eating pleasure: a rich, beefy stew that simmered for 24 hours before serving, and a light and fresh butternut squash stew that I finished moments after our first guests arrived. The beef bad boy was based on a recipe from Alice Waters’ cookbook The Art of Simple Food, a book that was a gift from a friend and is a joyful addition to my cookbook collection. I modified the recipe to serve more guests and to accommodate some missing ingredients and some added bonuses. And man oh man, was it delicious. So here it is for your cooking pleasure. If you make it, tell me what you think!
Beefy Good 24 Hour Beef Stew
5 pounds stew beef
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1/4 pound of bacon
2 onions, peeled and quartered
2 big carrots, peeled and cut into thick slices
1 big parsnip, peeled and cut into thick slice
nearly two cups of red wine
1/4 dried porcini mushrooms and 1/2 hot cup water
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 or five cups of water and two chicken boullioun cubes
about two teaspoons of tomato paste
For starters, you’ll want to season your beef with the sea salt and the pepper and set it aside. Then in a heavy pan ( preferably cast iron or something equally sturdy), heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil, enough to coat the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the bacon, being careful not to get zapped by the hot oil when you add it to the pan. Cook the bacon ’til it is cooked through but is not crispy, then remove the bacon and set it aside for a BLT (or something just as tasty and bacony).
Then begin adding in the beef in batches, cooking until it is completely browned on all sides. As each batch is browned, add it to a heavy pot without heat. This browning process takes a while! (I was watching Ace of Cakes and then The Chef Jeff Project while I browned the meat, and I watched full episodes of both shows before I was done browning the tasty chunklets.)
While the last batch of meat is browning, add your porcini mushrooms to your 1/2 cup hot water. Let it soak for about ten minute and then pour some of the ‘shroom water into your browned-beef pot, take out the mushrooms and chop them coarsely and set them aside.
When all of your meat is done browning, lower the heat on the pan and add the onions, carrots and parsnips. Cook until the onions are soft and browning on the edges, but not caramelized. Then add the veggies to your big pot of beef.
Next, add your red wine to the pan. Let it cook until a third of it has cooked off, and add it to the pot of beef, along with the porcini mushrooms, garlic, water and boullioun cubes and tomato paste. The liquid should cover the beef almost completely, so add more liquid as necessary. Cover and cook the stew at a simmer for an hour, and then reduce to the lowest possible heat and let it simmer for as many hours as possible. I was able to let it simmer for 24 hours because it simmered while we slept and then simmered while Rufus was at home editing on Friday. Some people don’t like to leave something simmering while they sleep, and I understand that. But please let it simmer as long as possible – the longer it simmers, the more like butter the beef becomes. Serve warm over noodles and enjoy!
Saturday was spent sleeping and cleaning up and walking the dog. We also watched a documentary about monkeys. I love a lazy Saturday.
Then today my mom hosted a Crafternoon for her friends and invited me to join them. They were more into the art of chatting than they were into hardcore crafting, but we had a lovely time. A couple of her friends made Christmas ornaments like this one:
And my mom made this one:
I did manage to dabble in a little decoupage, and the resulting box with its pretty 50s ladies pleases me:
Then I hustled back home to watch our wonderful President-Elect and his awesome wife on 60 Minutes.
The end to a perfect weekend.