Beef Stew

It has definitely turned into stew weather. It was 22°F when we headed off to the gym, this morning, and I think it got up to a whopping 32°F by this afternoon. It’s dropping back down as I type.

I can tell I’m getting old simply by noticing the temperature. I kinda laugh at it, thinking about the years I lived at Tahoe and rarely wore a jacket unless I was spending a lot of time outdoors – and even then, a cheap thermal shirt under a flannel shirt made it easier to move about. I don’t think I’ve ever owned a real winter jacket – even in Boston or Buffalo. A couple of layers of long sleeves has always been adequate.

I still don’t own a real winter jacket. But I am noticing the cold, more. Time to move to warmer climes…

I thought a nice stew would be good for dinner, and then decided that a nice stew over mashed potatoes would be an excellent dinner. And I was right – it was an excellent dinner.

I made the smallest batch of stew I’ve even made, using one of our smaller pots just to force containment. It worked.

I started with about 12 ounces of beef that I cut into cubes. I started with half a chopped onion and let it cook for a few minutes. I added the beef just to brown a bit and then some minced garlic.

Next went in about a third of a cup of brandy. I boiled it down a bit and then added red wine to cover the meat – maybe a bit more than a cup. I added a bit of salt and pepper, put a lid on, lowered the heat, and let it simmer for about 2 hours.

The house filled with the most fabulous aroma…..

About an hour before serving, I cut up a carrot and 2 stalks of celery and added them in, along with 8 ounces of assorted mushrooms.

The lid went back on and I let it all simmer away.

Finally, I thickened the broth with a bit of flour and cornstarch mixed together with a bit of water.

It went atop a single russet potato – unpeeled – that I boiled and mashed. Nothing fancy – just butter and milk and a pinch of S&P.

Victor’s going to make a batch of lentil soup tomorrow and there may be some chicken pot pies in our future. If the weather is going to be cold, I’m going to make sure there’s plenty of warm food to keep me from going out and buying a jacket I really don’t need.

Besides, I don’t know what size to buy, anymore…