A few months ago we got a chest freezer. (I have a narrow side-by-side fridge… you know, the kind that aims to save space by giving you a smaller fridge AND freezer…) The goal was to cook and prep all kinds of things to keep in there to make my life easier. It has sort of served that purpose so far; I’m a little behind on making meals to put in there, though.
Sorry, SELF. I’ve been a little busy working fulltime and keeping a short but very demanding human being alive! Geez.
Well, this weekend I kicked it into high gear. Thanks to my daughter shifting to one long nap in the afternoon, I cooked the sh*t out of this weekend! In yo’ FACE, weekend!
My biggest victory was a beef stew perfect for the freezer. I got six pounds of stew-beef on sale last week so I needed a recipe I could make BIG but without increasing the effort by much (ie, no additional chopping!). This was perfect.
Mahogany Beef Stew
Adapted from Bon Appetit magazine (I made a few minor changes and doubled…)
- olive or canola oil (something neutral)
- 3 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed, cut into 2 1/2-inch pieces
- 1-2 onions, chopped
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 springs thyme
- 1 pound potatoes, cut into chunks (carrots or butternut squash would work fine)
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
Heat a large dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot. Add a bit of oil. Season the beef well with salt and pepper. Add to the pot in batches to brown on all sides. (This is the hardest part of the recipe… you can get through it!)
Once it is all browned, remove from the pot. Add the onions and sauté (add a bit more oil if necessary), scraping up the brown bits left by the beef. Sauté until the onions start to soften.
Put the beef back in the pot and mix with the onions. Add 1 cup of the wine, reserving the other cup. Add the tomatoes (with their juices!), hoisin, bay leaves and thyme. Bring to a boil.
Once it boils, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 45 minutes.
Add potatoes (or whatever you’re using) and the other cup of wine. Cover and simmer for another 30 minutes.
Remove the lid and increase the heat to high. Boil for about 15 minutes to allow the sauce to slightly thicken. If you want to stop here, you can… otherwise, we’re going to make the sauce even thicker. In a separate bowl, dissolve one tablespoon of cornstarch in one tablespoon of water. Reduce the heat to medium and add the cornstarch mixture to the pot, stirring occasionally. Simmer for another 8 minutes.
Done. Remove the bay leaves and thyme stems. Season with salt and pepper if you wish.
This stew is rich and dark — intensely flavorful. Unlike other beef stews, I find it to be too rich to eat alone but perfect over rice, barley or noodles.
I’m dividing the stew into portions and freezing for nights when I don’t feel like cooking. I can’t wait to not feel like cooking!