Monday, October 25, 2010


I spent a good part of the weekend de-cluttering, both literally and figuratively.  Eliminating a piece of furniture and its contents (vhs tapes), as well as packing up a ton of cds which are already stored in my iTunes, gave me a great sense of accomplishment and helped me to begin a new week in a good place.  I'm committed to continuing this process as I work my way through my home and it has been wonderful to allow myself to remember how much I enjoy a space which is tidy and clean.     The perfect accompaniment to a tranquil living space, in my opinion, is some comfort food that fills the home with a fragrant aroma, yet requires little attention.  Beef Stew was the perfect solution.   

Prior to cooking
I started by softening some chopped onions in olive oil to lend an additional level of flavor to my end product. I removed the onions with a slotted spoon and they became the first layer in my Crock Pot. I dredged about 1.5 lbs of stew beef (whatever was on sale @Price Chopper last week) in flour and, working in small batches, browned the meat in the onion-y olive oil. When the olive oil began to get a little sparse, I threw in ~ 2T of butter to continue the process. As the meat became brown, I removed it and placed it in the Crock Pot, layering it with chunks of potatoes, about 6 small garlic cloves (whole), peeled chunks of sweet potatoes and carrots. What can I say? I like orange.
Too much liquid is unnecessary - I left 2-3" unsubmerged
When the last of the meat was browned, I deglazed the pot with some Carmignano which had been opened a few days beyond deliciousness. As I scrapped the tasty bits from the bottom of the pot, I added a can of beef broth to the wine and heated it through. The liquid was then added to the Crock Pot and I set the temperature on high and went on my way for the next 4 hours or so, stirring every so often to circulate the flavors and juices.
The finished product
About 2 hours before dinner time, I turned the temperature down to low and took a taste of the "gravy" for seasoning purposes, adding salt and cracked pepper to taste.  About 20 minutes prior to serving, I threw in a half a bag of frozen peas and a couple of branches of fresh rosemary.  With a salad on the side, it was the perfect meal for football Sunday - and there are even leftovers to go in the freezer for one of those nights when I just don't feel like cooking.  And only one post-dinner cooking vessel to wash - which for a girl who likes to sit down without a sink full of post-dinner dishes to deal with, adds immensely to my dining pleasure. 


  1. inspirado....just got my hands on some ethiopian berebere and plan on doing an ethiopian stew tonight! you got me in the perfect mood.

  2. yeah...I did pot roast in the crock yesterday, browning the meat and getting all the tasty bits from the bottom is truly essential...we too have mega leftovers for a cold night when I don't feel like cooking. Enjoy!!!

  3. @rib slew - Thanks for sending me to google to find out what the heck ethiopian berbere is! Now I'm intrigued...

    @llcwine - I bet you enjoyed a nice glass of red wine with that roast, didn't you? I'm enjoying the warm weather but am ready to yield to winter cooking and brown (bourbon) and red (wine, obviously) drinking.