Lately I have been traveling so much that there hasn’t been even a semblance of normalcy in my life. The result has been that I have hardly been cooking meals at home and when I do cook, I haven’t had the time to take pictures, write the recipes down and then upload everything on the website. First, I went to Turkey for a vacation, then I had to drive down to Indiana (from Washington DC) to drop my daughter off to college, then my son had to be dropped off to his college and then I went to India for two weeks. All this hectic travel took place over the course of six weeks and the result of it is that I am completely exhausted and am dying to just lie in bed for the next six weeks and hibernate like a bear. Of course, the fact that we have had a winter from hell with snow storm after snow storm doesn’t help matters either. So lately I have been feeling quite uninspired as far as cooking goes. Yes, I did get amazing things to eat during my various trips (Turkish food is REALLY good) but cooking at home has taken a back burner (HAHA – I made a cooking related joke!). Anyway, now that we are snowed in yet again, I had to go back to cooking and in this awful cold and grey weather what could be better than a hearty beef stew. This stew had a base of Lager beer and even through two hours of cooking the stew had a good bitter aftertaste that got rounded out by the sweetness of onions, carrots and potatoes. It made for a great meal with soft buttered brioche bun on side.
1. 2.5-3 lbs of round chuck beef (I got organic grass-fed)
2. 3 medium sized onions
3. 3-4 cloves of garlic
4. 2 bottles of beer
5. 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
6. 6-7 small potatoes
7. A cup of carrots (need them in large chunks)
8. One heart of celery
9. 1.5 tablespoons of while Balsamic Vinegar
10. 2 tablespoons of olive oil
11. Salt and pepper to taste
12. 1 teaspoon of dry thyme
13. 1-2 teaspoons of paprika
14. A pinch of grates nutmeg (if freshly grated, its better)
15. A pinch of red pepper flakes.
4. When the onion slices look a little translucent, add the hunk of meat back to the pot (on top of the onions and garlic) and then pour the two bottles/cans of beer to the pot. Add the paprika and thyme to the pot. Cover it and let it cook on low heat for about 60-90 minutes. You can also use a crockpot for this. Check on the meat after every 15-20 minutes to make sure that there is enough moisture to continue cooking it. If it looks like the liquid is dwindling, add a bit of chicken stock to the pot (I did not need to add any because there was plenty of beer to begin with).
6. Wash and cut the potatoes in big chunks.
11. Add the cut pieces of meat and vegetables back to the pot. Add the Balsamic vinegar and stir everything together and cook for another 10-12 minutes on low heat.
12. Serve while the stew is piping hot with some good bread or rice on the side.