Dixie Peach: Simmering Comfort

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Simmering Comfort

I've been in a halfway cranky mood today. Normally that means I want to eat macaroni and cheese and hide under the covers but that lets The Malaise back in so I went to my back up comfort plan. Comfort with vegetables.

Let's make some beef stew. It's one of B's favorite dishes and he'd eat it weekly if I'd only consent to it. As it is he gets it about every ten days. It's easy to make so I don't mind.

First you're going to need about a pound of tender stew beef cut into chunks. You can also make it mixed with pork if that's your wish.

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Sprinkle your beef with a bit of salt and pepper and then toss the beef chunks in a couple tablespoons of flour to help the beef get more brown when you cook it and it helps to thicken the broth.

Cut up your vegetables - about 4 small potatoes, peeled and cubed and 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced. Add with them a cup of frozen cut green beans and a cup of frozen kernel corn. I have used canned corn when I couldn't get frozen - Germans don't tend to be corn eaters...they think corn is for feeding hogs - but it's not so great to use.

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Just let it sit won't be using them for a while - it's good anyway to let the frozen vegetables thaw a bit before using them.

You'll need a small chopped onion as well.

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Start by heating a couple tablespoons of oil in your soup pot. Add the meat and stir constantly as it browns. About halfway through the browning add the chopped onion. As it cooks you'll notice that it starts to turn a little grayish and gooey looking from the flour but that's fine.

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Keep stirring but don't freak if things start to stick to the bottom of the pot a bit. Your next ingredient will help loosen it all up.

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What is it about tomato based things that get scorched on stuff unscorched?

When the meat is browned add 3 cups of tomato juice and 1 cup of water. Now it's time to add your seasonings.

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The basic seasonings are 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce and a bay leaf or two. Add a few other things if you want. A bit of hot paprika. A few drops Tabasco. Make it your own.

Bring the stew to a boil, cover, turn down the heat and let it simmer for about and 1 1/4 hours. I don't find any need to stir it - I just let it groove on its own. When the 1 1/4 hour has passed, it's time to add the vegetables that have been patiently waiting to join in the fun.

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You've just added those cold, cold vegetables so turn up the heat, bring the stew back to a boil, re-cover, turn the heat back down and let it simmer for another 30 minutes.

You've figured out that this isn't a dish to cook when you're pressed for time, haven't you?

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Serve it with fresh rolls or cornbread or even just a slice of puffy white bread. And I have to have a big ol' glass of icy cold milk with it for my comfort food splurge to be complete.

All the comfort you can stand. And you get to feel virtuous because you ate vegetables as well. Keeps you from feeling so guilty when you further comfort yourself with chocolate pudding for dessert.



Blogger Tiffany said...

That looks so good!

11:16 PM  
Blogger sari said...

Looks very comforting! For some reason, it's hot here now (in the 70's or so) and all I want to eat are soups, stews and the like.

And lots of bread, of course!

11:50 PM  
Blogger christina said...

Very yummy! I could go for some of that right now. And you're such a neat cook! I would have used every pot in the kitchen and splattered everything from one end to the other.

Did you stand on a chair to take those pictures? :-)

2:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mmm, that looks so yummy. I do love a good stew. :)

5:17 PM  
Blogger Molly said...

I'm pretty comforted just looking at the pictures. I'd better plan on making that soon.

5:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooooo that looks good I'm gonna try it. :D

8:58 PM  
Blogger Dixie said...

It really couldn't be easier to cook. The worst part is chopping the vegetables and cubing the meat.

Christina, just hold the camera over it all and hope for the best. It was sorta hard getting the meat browning picture because of all the crazy steam coming off of it! :)

9:40 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

I love the pictorial step-by-step! Thanks!


8:42 AM  
Blogger Renna said...

I wish I'd had access to the internet, and posts like yours of making stew, back when I was a young newlywed. My first attempt at a pot of beef/veggie stew was less than desirable; tho I do remember my dh sweetly eating it.

I can hold my own with stew now, and it's very similar to yours, but what a neat thing to offer with the step-by-step instructions and up-close photos for a youngin' first learning to make it. ;-)

8:19 PM  

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