Beef Stew from “Beef”

The weather last week was unseasonable. Temps in the 70’s definitely don’t say “autumn” do they? But the temps started to drop and now here in the Northeast we’re in full autumn swing. And that means it’s time for comfort food. I’d been thinking about making beef stew, I hadn’t had it since last winter. As I started imagining curling up on the sofa with a bowl of beef stew I went looking for the recipe I used last year. And I couldn’t find it. So that meant it was time to find a new one.

I came across a beef stew recipe in John Torode’s “Beef” cookbook. The recipe called for basic ingredients, which I had handy. Well, except for one – lard. There’s no lard in this house. Mr. Torode had enough foresight and included a replacement if need be in the recipe. Good call, Mr. Torode. When I was at the grocery store all I needed to pick up was the stew meat and potatoes. Easy enough.

So, lets get cooking.

Coat stew meat with all-purpose flour.

Brown the meat in a Dutch oven or heavy pot.

See how nicely browned the meat is getting? And all those golden bits will go into my stew.

I also needed to brown the sliced onions.

Once the beef and onions were browned, I added the quartered potatoes along with the 4 cups beef stock. I made sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to incorporate the flour and bits of flavor into the beef, onions and potatoes. I then put the lid on the pan and put the stew into the oven for three hours at 275 degrees.

I had some time before the beef stew came out of the oven, so I made breakfast.

Country white bread and a sprinkle of nutmeg into the egg mixture and the French Toast was the perfect way to start the day.

Okay, back to the beef stew.

It looked good, right? My kitchen smelled so good. Comfort and memories wafted through the room as steam rose from the pot. How many times have we sat down to a hearty meal of beef stew and bread? Early days of fall, mid-winter nights with the wind howling. We all have our memories of gathering around the table and dishing out a bowl of beef stew.

Time to serve up dinner.

I’d been waiting all day to try this stew, I’d been thinking about it for days before. So it wasn’t a surprise that we ate early. I was dying to try it.

So, when it wasn’t all that I expected I was a little disappointed. I found the recipe to be a little bland, there was only salt and pepper to flavor it. I found the beef a little tough. Now, my oven is spot on temperature wise so I know it wasn’t my oven’s fault. I think it could have cooked a little longer. Overall, I wouldn’t make this recipe again. It wasn’t bad but it really wasn’t good. I guess this is a case of live and cook, some recipes are winners right out of the cookbook. I will be trying some other recipes from this cookbook. I don’t judge a chef, a cookbook author or a cookbook based on one recipe.

I think it’s time I search through my cookbooks again.



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