The forecast was for rain all weekend. I did not really mind. It has been a busy summer and I needed a good excuse to be a bum. I have been eating out a lot and been on the go. All I wanted for the weekend was to go to yoga, read my book and eat something delicious. This is what happened. Saturday morning I woke up bright and early and actually went to 7:30 am hot yoga. Yay for me. I was then ready for the rest of my day… which was going to be a whole lot of nothing.
I knew I wanted to make something hearty and comforting….. So I went to Piggly Wiggly. The girls in the bakery almost had me talked into the white frosted long john with green and gold sprinkles… but I got this stuff instead.
I bought: 1.5 lbs of beef stew meat 2 packages of frozen stew vegetables 1 package of pearl onions 1 big box of beef stock 1 package of bacon - on sale- I thought would be good for breakfast 1 container of baby Bella mushrooms
I already had a fresh bulb of garlic, a can of tomato paste and a couple of bottles of decent red wine. I also already had salt, pepper and butter. I later found a can of diced potatoes. (I would never usually have a can of potatoes in my pantry but I have a friend who does not cook who keeps sliced potatoes in her pantry and fries them up in garlic and butter and her kids think she is a rock star. Who knew? I though I had bought some sliced potatoes, but apparently I got diced potatoes instead.)
Oven temp: 275 degrees F with rack on lowest part of oven.
I have an old green heavy enamel pot and I made the stew in that. First, I let the meat hang out for a bit on the counter and I salt and peppered it. I chopped up a few pieces of the bacon and started frying it in my big pot. It seemed dry and might be burning so I added a glug of olive oil to get things started. I browned the meat in two batches, adding a spoonful of flour to each batch. I must of added too much flour to the second batch because things stopped browning and started to get gluey. I only freaked out for a second, and then I opened the wine (Beringer Merlot 2009 that had been in my booze cabinet forever. ) I added a cup of wine and mixed it all up… soon it was a lot better, but kept drying up…at that point I decided the meat was as brown as it was going to get and took all of the meat out of the pot. I added about 1/2 the bottle of wine and the whole box of beef stock. It was starting to smell good! I put the meat back in, added a few whole pieces of garlic, about 3/4 small can of tomato paste and stirred it all together. I put the cover on and put it in the oven at 275 degrees and cooked it for about 2 hours while I took a nap. At that point, I added both packages of the frozen stewed veggies. I covered it back up and put it in the oven for another hour. I tasted the whole thing after hour 3. It was pretty good- meat still needed a bit more cooking. The sauce was to die for. I was a little disappointed that there were only two potatoes in the whole thing. I dug around in my pantry and found a can of diced potatoes. I opened the can, rinsed the potatoes and put about 3/4 of the can into the pot. I then added about 1/2 the package of pearl onions. I also chopped up the baby Bella’s, salt and peppered them and sauteed them in a hunk of butter. When the were looking kind of brown and yummy I dumped that in the pot too. Back into the over for another hour.
The final product was super yummy. I kept eating one little bowl, then another little bowl, and then another little bowl. Then I was full. I was going to make ho-made bread to go with it- but the recipe I found would take about a billion years…. So I made do with the bread I had leftover for sandwiches. I smeared a gob of butter on it and ripped it up and sopped up all of the juices. It was fucking fantastic.
This picture does not do it justice… I failed to take one last night. This is a picture of it cold. Sorry about that. It looks kind of like dog food… but I assure you it is really good!
There is a ton left over and I am going to give some to the people I love.