I messed up last week. I told you that I had two good sides to go with turkey, and I really did, but posting on my blog completely slipped my mind on the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving. On Tuesday night, I got my post ready, added the pictures, even edited everything, but I got busy and forgot to post it on Wednesday. I feel bad that I left you hanging, and my excuses are lame: I woke up and finished the last Harry Potter book, which I’d been feverishly since the weekend, and, once I‘d finished, started checking off all the things on my to do list prior to a trip to Kentucky.
Then I went to Kentucky, where I told myself I would cook just a couple of things, and ended up cooking absolutely nothing. (My mom still has pickles in her giant jar, but I had plenty of other foods to tempt me.) Now back in Durham, I haven’t had time to think about preparing meals. On the car ride back, I started dreaming of turkey reubens, so I bought the components and some other boring things at the store but nothing requiring forethought. But this is how life is– when you’re busy, preparing meals can be a chore, and sometimes it’s easiest to go to Chipotle. And so although I think it’s a sad excuse (one I quite frankly don’t even want to use and hope that will cause me to eat my words in a few days’ time), I need to warn you that I might not be posting as often as I’d like to for the coming two to three weeks. I definitely will be sharing several Christmas recipes (particularly of the cookie variety), and I want to add a few other dishes as well.
Hopefully, it will all work out. As I said, I am sure to give you a few good cookie recipes. I love Christmas cookies–my friend Amanda and I are having our third annual cookie exchange this week!–and I cannot control my excitement when thinking about them.
This stew is boring compared to the thought of cookies, but I think you might appreciate it.
It’s cold, the days are short, you’re busy–you want something easy, tasty and that makes enough for leftovers. This Belgian beef stew satisfies all of those requirements, and you’ll feel accomplished knowing that you have a home-cooked meal waiting for you in the fridge. Best a day after it’s made, it’s the perfect meal to make on Sunday afternoon and take for lunch during the week. Plus, it requires 12 ounces of Duvel (or another Belgian golden ale), so you’ll buy a big bottle ora 4 pack and get a little treat to go along with it.
Note: It’s best a day after making it, once the flavors have really come together
You may want to add a splash of beer halfway through cooking the onions– I had quite a bit of frond (browned bits), and I felt like they were getting a little too brown as the onions cooked.
3 thyme sprigs, 3 parsley sprigs and 1 bay leaf, tied in cheesecloth
3 pounds trimmed beef chuck, cut into 1 ½ inch pieces
salt and pepper
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
canola or vegetable oil
3 onions, thinly sliced
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
12 ounces or 1 ½ cups Duvel or another Belgian golden ale
1 quart beef stock
10 new potatoes, halved
2 large carrots, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
parsley, for garnish
1. Season the beef with a big pinch of salt and pepper. Combine flour and beef in a large plastic bag, shaking to coat the beef well. Remove the beef from the bag and shake off excess flour.
2. In a large enameled cast-iron pot, heat a glug of oil over medium heat. Add half of the beef and cook until browned all over. Transfer to a plate, and repeat with the remaining meat.
3. Preheat oven to 325F.
4. Pour off fat from the pot to leave a thin coat of oil. Cook onions, seasoned with a pinch of salt and pepper, stirring over medium heat until softened and browned. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add beer and cook, scraping up the frond (browned bits).
5. Return meat to the pot and added stock and herb bundle. Bring to a boil, then cover and braise in the oven for 1 ½ hours, until the meat is very tender.
6. Add the potatoes and carrots to the pot, and continue to braise, covered, for 25-30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
7. Discard the herb bundle, stir in mustard and vinegar, and season with another big pinch of salt and pepper. Let the stew cool, and refrigerate overnight.
8. Reheat the stew over medium heat, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve in bowls, and garnish with parsley. (Or reheat individual servings in the microwave.)