Beef stew

Any given Sunday in winter, a recipe that evolves a bit each time. Here’s today’s version, all cooked stovetop in a coated, 7-qt dutch oven and described mostly in the second person.

Heat the pot to a gentlemanly temperature; add a healthy pat of butter and therein render some bacon, say a fist-sized amount in 1/2″ cubes. Remove the bacon and fry a handful of frozen [*] sage leaves, adding a few cloves of garlic, not so thinly-sliced as one might for most applications, and a few medium-sized onions of a variety that really assault your tear ducts. (A stew is no place for increasingly-popular sweetish things from the produce section.). Soften it all and remove.

Meanwhile, you will have coated a couple pounds of tough-enough-for-the-216 cow meat, in 1.5″ cubes, in seasoned flour. Brown in the pot in small batches; it does not need to cook, just to shed some crispy carcinogenic bits. Add each cooked batch to the pile of steaming bacony awesomeness from scene 1. After all of the beef is through and you’re beginning to worry that your pricey cookware has been abused, deglaze with whatever you want to drink the rest of later. Today it’s a cab, though I’m workng on finding the right porter, in particular when we’re heavy on shrooms.

Add those previously-cooked to the glazey stuff in the pot. In goes liquid: 1.5c each of the wine and stock and then veg. Today, a bunch of medium spuds, six big carrots, a butternut squash, a small can of tomato sauce in lieu of having any actual toms and something else that I’ll remember when one of the boys finds in it his bowl and inquires.

Cook it all, gently bubbling, occasionally stirring, for a couple if hours, maybe more. At t-1h, throw a batch of AB’s simple barley into the oven.

[*] This might not be essential: as in happens, our sage bushes were half-buried under the snow, but the leaves were still lovely.

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