Beef Stew in Red Wine
This recipe was intended to serve 21 people. I assume that you, like I, do not have restaurant sized pots and pans. So, you will have to cook this in two separate pots. Divide all ingredients equally.
Lightly flour beef pieces by placing them in a plastic bag a few pieces at a time with flour, salt and pepper. Shake off excess. In two very large pots, brown beef in 4 tbsps of olive oil heated over a medium flame. Be patient, brown in batches because if you crowd the meat in the pot it will steam rather than brown. Brown all sides by shaking the pot and rolling the beef pieces around. Add more olive oil as needed. Remove stewing beef pieces from pot as they brown. Drain excess fat, if any, from the pots.
- 4 large yellow onions (2 in each saute pan)
- 3 lbs carrots peeled (1 1/2 lb in each saute pan)
You are going to prepare the vegetables in a separate saute pan. Slice carrots to 1 inch thickness and the onions to 1/4 inch thickness. Saute over medium heat in 2 tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp of butter until onions are translucent (do not brown the vegetables). It usually takes about 10 minutes to reach this point.
- 2 bottles red wine (Remember, only use wine you would drink.)
Deglaze the pots that the beef was browned in with 1 cup of red wine in each and save the rest of the wine to be added later. Scrape up all of the bits from the bottom of the pots. Return the browned beef and juices that may have collected to the two pots. Add the sauted vegetables to the two pots.
- 2 cups unsalted beef stock (1 cup in each pot)
- 2 28 oz can Italian plum tomatoes and juice (With your hands crush the tomatoes in a bowl. Watch it, the juice squirts out all over when you squeeze them!) (1 can for each pot)
- 6-10 cloves garlic peeled and crushed (It all depends on how much garlic you like.) (3-5 in each pot)
- 12 bay leaves (Yes, that's right, 6 in each pot.)
- 12 sprigs of fresh thyme (Yes, that's right, 6 in each pot.)
- the rest of the red wine divided between the two pots
Add to beef, carrots and onions. Salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, checking every 20 minutes to make sure that the stew is on a slow simmer. This means a very slight and slow bubbling on the surface. After three hours, taste a piece of the beef to check for tenderness. If you are satisfied, remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature then place covered pots in refrigerator. (When you put a hot pot in your refrigerator it raises the refrigerator's interior temperature and is a waste of energy.)
The day you are serving the stew, skim off the excess fat that may have accumulated on the surface and reheat on top of the stove. I like to add 4 tbsp of butter to each pot for additional richness.
Tips on Mashed Potatoes
- 10 Idaho baking potatoes (I use only baking potatoes.)
I assume 1 potato for 2 people. Peel the potatoes, cut them into 1 inch chunks and boil them in salted water for 25-30 minutes. When you can easily pierce them with a kitchen fork, they are done. I start checking at 25 minutes. Immediately drain and put them back in the pot. While you are mashing, add 1 stick of salted butter. Continue to mash until you have reached the consistency you desire. I do not add milk or cream to my potatoes if I am going to keep them warm in the oven until serving the meal (200-225 degrees). I think it makes them gummy. If you use only butter I find they stay flaky. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Tips on Roasted Green Beans
- 1 handful of green beans per person
Heat your oven to 400 degrees. I pick through the green beans and discard the unattractive ones. I also cut off the string end of the green bean. Rinse under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Put beans in a large bowl and toss with 3 tbsp of olive oil so all the beans are lightly coated. (Don't wash the bowl yet.) Arrange in a single layer in a baking pan and sprinkle sparingly with kosher salt and pepper. Bake in oven until tender. All ovens differ, I start checking every minute or so at 5 minutes by tasting them. When they take on a sweet rather than a raw flavor they are done. Don't wait too long, they will shrivel up and be ugly. I put them back in the bowl I originally tossed them in and toss them again with 1-2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar. You can serve them right out of the oven or at room temperature. Either way they are delicious.
- 6 eggs (at room temperature)
Separate yolks and egg whites. Reserve egg whites for later.
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup of superfine sugar
- 1 lb marscapone cheese (at room temperature)
With a hand mixer thoroughly combine with egg yolks.
- 1 1/2 -2 cups of espresso coffee (Honestly, when having an espresso after dinner, I prefer brewed. However, for this recipe either brewed or instant will work perfectly fine. For instant, use 8 teaspoons of instant espresso powder to 1 cup of boiling water. Allow to thoroughly cool.)
There is a trick to making sure your ladyfingers, which are very delicate, do not become soggy and fall apart on you. Pour the espresso into a shallow soup bowl. Grasp the ladyfinger so it is flat and very quickly (1 second) dip one side into the espresso. In a 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish make two rows of ladyfingers by laying them end to end so that the entire bottom of the dish is covered. 24 lady fingers fit perfectly.
Whip egg whites until they form soft peaks when you lift the mixer from the bowl. You will fold this into the egg and marscapone cheese mixture gradually. Spoon 1/3 of the egg whites into the egg and marscapone cheese mixture. With a rubber spatula lift the mixture from the bottom up and over the egg white. Repeat until all of the egg whites are blended into the egg and marscapone. You should still see faint streaks of egg whites. Pour 1/2 of this mixture over the first layer of lady fingers. Gently smooth with a spatula. Repeat another layer of the lady fingers on top of the egg whites / marscapone cheese mixture. Cover the second layer of lady fingers with the remaining 1/2 of the cheese mixture. Sprinkle unsweetend cocoa powder over the top of the cheese mixture. A trick to doing this evenly is to put the cocoa in a mesh strainer and gently tap the side as you move it over the dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate no less than 4 hours, however, I prefer overnight. Right before serving shave curls of your favorite chocolate on top using a vegetable peeler.
You may want to be careful when consuming raw eggs due to a risk of illness. Use only fresh clean grade AA eggs. Avoid contact between the egg white or egg yolk and the outside of the egg shell. You can also purchase eggs that have been specially treated to destroy germs. Also note that this and many other tiramisu recipes call for some type of alcohol. Alcohol acts as a built in disinfectant to germs.
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