Monday, January 24, 2011

Italian Beef Stew

On occasion, I'll make a hearty beef stew, mainly to try out a new recipe in hopes that I'll finally find my 'go-to' beef stew.  To my disappointment, recipe after recipe fails me in the flavor department.  I'm not a picky eater by any means, but one thing I despise is bland food that a little salt can't cure!  I was just about to give up on ever making another lousy beef stew until I came across this Italian Beef Stew in the latest issue of Cooking Light magazine.   It sounded good enough and I happened to have everything on hand, so no need to run to the store. I just love that!  Well, sort called for fresh herbs, but I just subbed dried herbs at about 1/3-1/2 the amount the recipe called for.

The recipe said it would take about 40 minutes of hands on time and about 2 hours of cooking....well mine cooked for a total of 3 hours, so it was a good thing I started things early.  I felt like little miss Susie homemaker prepping for dinner at 9am, but my proactive stew prepping paid off later in the afternoon when my toddler began to act up because he 1) woke up at 4:14am and 2) wouldn't nap.  Oh the joys of toddler-dom!  (By the way he finally crashed on the living room floor around 5pm watching Disney's Cars with the back of his eye lids).

The stew cooked and cooked and cooked until the meat got to the desired tenderness (3 hours total).  Finally, the moment of truth.  Did my days worth of cooking pay off? Yes indeed it did!  Both my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed this meal.  Since I wasn't expecting the stew to be so good, I didn't get many photos, but all you really care about is the finished product, right?! Delish!

I paired this stew with some homemade Focaccia bread, which didn't take too much time to make since I used a bread maker to do the kneading and rising.  It came out just alright, so I won't bother providing the recipe unless someone really wants it.  As you might have guessed, it was lacking in flavor even with some great French fleur de sel (hand harvested sea salt) on top :).

Click here for the Italian Beef Stew recipe from the January 2011 issue of Cooking Light.

Next time, I hope to make a slow cooker adaptation of this recipe.  If I succeed, I'll post an update.

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