Saturday, March 28, 2020

Covid Cafe Special: Rob's Beef Stew

Rob's guest post comes to us today from his warm and welcoming Chicago quarantine kitchen...

If you add up the cooking time in the recipe, it comes out at two hours, but I think of this as an all-day endeavor.  The tasks don’t require it, but it is the best dish to just. . . go . . . slow. 

First off, brown the meat.  In this case wonderful, organic, beef stew meat delivered to our door from Mint Creek Farm.  I live by Julia’s advice, “Don’t crowd the meat!”  The recipe calls for browning in two batches but I do it in eight.  What you spend in time, you make up for in solid browning and a kick-ass fond.

BTW, Carly, your Dutch oven will not look as pristine after a few stews.

Next step is to add the onions and carrots, deglaze with red wine, sprinkle some flour (or arrowroot) over the top and let it simmer.  Then add the bay leaves, thyme, salt pork – slow steps build a stew, flavor upon flavor. After a simmer, into the 300-degree oven for a slow, low braising. 

Next is aromatherapy as the stew permeates the air for 1 ½ hours.  I think this is my favorite part, the scent a hint of the meal to come.  After that time, out comes the pot, and out come the bay leaves and salt pork.

Time to add the potatoes

Back in the oven it goes for another 45 minutes of aromatherapy. Then out of the oven for the last time and onto the stove top. Add the pearl onions and simmer.

Then, my favorite, THE PEAS, green, the color of spring.

After a day of pleasure, it's ready. Food for a week!

Let's get out the bowls and spoons and dig in. For a chuckle while you eat, check out cousin David's diverse bag of necessities from a local store last week. 

That leads us to today's musical selection...

And a poem
By Barbara Kingsolver

O misery. Imperfect
universe of days stretched out
ahead, the string of pearls
and drops of venom on the web,
losses of heart, of life
and limb, news of the worst:
Remind me again
the day will come
when I look back amazed
at the waste of sorry salt
when I had no more than this
to cry about.
Now I lay me down.
I’m not there yet.

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