It’s been a wild month at House Morell. I’ve started into my new job as a school media specialist/librarian, and got sorta lost in the details of launching the school year. While it is undoubtedly a dream job for me, it’s been a challenge to get up to speed in a new role. I have also been spending a fair bit of time catching up on what the kids are reading. (I got more than a few odd looks at the hair dresser the other day, as I read the perennial 2nd grade favorite Ivy + Bean while under the dryer. Hey, I thought it was far more entertaining than the obvious alternative: People magazine.)
I never have multi-tasked particularly well while in transition, so once again I took a break from blogging.
(This little blog of mine is going to be a marathon with lots of breaks, instead of a sprint… and I’m at peace with that… hope you are too!)
But I have been cooking up a storm.
Saturday was one of those dreamy fall days (for me), that the only absolute “must-do” was cooking for a dinner with friends, and watching football with my family. (Never mind the “should-do” list, which I basically ignored. The laundry can always wait another day. Or at least almost always.)
I was craving a lovely pot of stew, so tinkered with a fail-proof classic recipe (hello Ina’s Beef Bourguignon) to add a few twists inspired by a pair of Food and Wine recipes. Once involved Port wine, the other, Honeycrisp apples and Anjou pears. A trio of delightful fall ingredients.
Oh. My. Word. This was one of the best stews I have ever made. Rich and meaty and slightly sweet and totally amazing.
My dear friend Anne said: I think you had better sit down and write down how you made this.” So I did.
Though it took a few days.
Let this become your new go-to fall stew recipe, my friends… I know it will be mine.
One year ago: Tio’s Chimichurri
- 1 tablespoon good olive oil
- 4 ounces dry cured center cut applewood smoked bacon
- 2½ pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon good quality steak seasoning
- 1 teaspoon flour (I used red mill farms gluten-free flour)
- 2 yellow onions, sliced
- 6 carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
- 4 teaspoons chopped garlic (4 cloves)
- 1 cup tawny port
- 2 ½ cups good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir
- 2 ½ cups beef broth
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1 honey crisp apples, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 anjou pear, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
- Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat until crisp. Remove the bacon, and when it is cool enough to handle, cut into ½ inch bits. Set aside.
- Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with steak seasoning and a bit of flour. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. If the meat begins to stick to the bottom of the pot, add a glug or two of extra olive oil between batches. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.
- Toss the onions in the fat in the pan and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are starting to become translucent.
- Add the carrots and celery and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, port and red wine.
- Add the tomato paste and thyme.
- Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for 1½ hours.
- In the meantime, saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned.
- After the first hour and a half, pull the stew out of the oven, add the mushrooms, the apple and the pear, and return to oven for another hour, until the beef and vegetables are tender.