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Old 09-14-2006, 09:43 AM   #31
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For a change, try Korean Beef Stew. It's beef short ribs stewed in ginger, garlic, soy sauce, onion, sugar and garnished with sesame oil, sesame seeds and chopped leeks. One of my favorites.

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Old 09-14-2006, 10:36 AM   #32
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You're right - traditional beef stew IS blah and has ALWAYS been blah, since I had to eat it a couple of times a month as a kid. Never liked the stuff.
??????? Too bad you didn't grow up in my mom's house. Her beef stew was just one of many fabulous meals we enjoyed on a daily basis.

and here, for the record are a couple of French beef stews that I make frequently to rave reviews from family and friends... Stews all have a long list of ingredients, but they are "basic" ones, that add to the end flavor, and they all take a long time to produce, but most of that time does not require your attention.

From Bourgogne...

Boeuf Bourguignon
(Hearty Beef Stew in Red Wine with Onions and Mushrooms)

On a nippy Autumn evening, there are few dishes as satisfying—or as romantic—as a hearty Boeuf Bourguignon. This is an essential dish to have in your repertoire because, besides being heart-warming and delicious, it benefits from being prepared in advance and reheated; AND leftovers freeze well.

6 servings
3 pounds lean stew beef (chuck, round), cut in 1-1/2-inch cubes
3 cups (1 bottle) hearty red wine (Beaujolais
or Côtes du Rhône are flavorful and not too costly)
4 tablespoons Cognac

1 bouquet garni (1 sprig thyme, 1 bay leaf, 10 parsley stems)
6 black peppercorns
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 large onions
3 large carrots
½ pound slab bacon (or pancetta)
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
sea salt, to taste
1 garlic clove
30 pearl onions (fresh—not from a bottle)
¼ pound fresh mushroom caps

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine beef cubes with the wine, 3 tablespoons Cognac, the bouquet garni, a few peppercorns and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Set aside to marinate for at least 2 hours, but not overnight.
2. Peel and chop the onions and carrots. Remove rind from the bacon and cut the meat into 1-inch pieces. Blanch bacon in boiling water for several seconds. Drain and pat dry.
3. Remove beef from the marinade with a slotted spoon and pat dry. (If the meat is not dry, it will not brown.) Reserve the marinade.
4. Heat a large casserole or Dutch oven and film it with oil. Sauté the bacon until it is lightly browned. Remove bacon from the pan and set aside to drain on paper towels. Leave any bacon fat in the pan.
5. Add the remaining vegetable oil to the pan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in it, and when it is very hot add the beef to the pan (in 2 batches, if necessary) and sear on all sides. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the beef from the pan.
6. Add the chopped onions and carrots to the pan and sauté the mixture until onions become translucent. Return the beef and bacon to the pan. Add the marinade and bouquet garni to the vegetables and bring to a boil. Add garlic (unpeeled, but lightly crushed). Cover and simmer over low heat until beef is tender—about 2 ½ hours—and the sauce is a rich, dark brown.
7. Wipe the mushroom caps with a piece of paper towel. Peel the pearl onions, and cut an “x” in the root end of each with a small, sharp knife. Melt the remaining butter in another skillet. Add the onions and mushrooms and sauté quickly over medium high heat without browning. Set aside.
8. When the beef has finished cooking, remove it and the bacon from the cooking liquid with a slotted spoon. Strain the liquid through a sieve or strainer. Press to get all the juices out of the vegetables you will be discarding. Return the sauce to the pan with the beef and bacon. (If the sauce seems too thin, mix 2 teaspoon potato starch with ¼ cup of the cool sauce before returning to the pan.) Add the mushrooms, pearl onions and the remaining Cognac. Warm the stew until it is completely heated through.

Serve with steamed new potatoes and a vigorous red wine, such as a Corton, Pommard or a Carneros Pinot Noir from California.

and from Provence:
Beef Stew, Provençal Style
The French call this a “Daube,” but every time I eat “Daube” in France, I think I¹m eating beef stew! A great beef stew is a valuable addition to any cook¹s repertoire. For most of the people I know, it conjures up happy thoughts of a nurturing family. Besides, it tastes good, and is easy to prepare ahead of time. In fact, it really does taste better the next day. The orange makes it particularly Provençal.
8 servings
4 ½ pounds trimmed lean beef chuck, cut into 1 ½-inch cubes
4 carrots, sliced
3 medium onions, coarsely chopped
1 celery rib, thickly sliced
2 garlic cloves
1 sprig of parsley
3 bay leaves
¼ cup cognac (or marc de Provence)
1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 bottle good dry red wine
¼ cup + 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
3 whole cloves
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound fresh cèpes, portobellos or cultivated mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon sea salt
grated zest and juice of 1 large orange
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1. In a large bowl, combine the meat with the carrots, onions, garlic, parsley, celery, bay leaves, thyme, marjoram, cognac, red wine and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Tie the peppercorns and cloves in a piece of cheesecloth and add them to the bowl. Toss well. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours, stirring once or twice.
2. Let the meat and vegetables return to room temperature. With a slotted spoon, remove the meat from the marinade, drain well and pat dry on paper towels. Set the vegetables aside. Transfer the liquid and the cheesecloth bag to a large flameproof casserole and boil for 5 minutes over moderately high heat to reduce slightly. Remove from the heat.

3. In a large heavy skillet, melt the butter in the remaining ¼ cup oil over high heat. When the foam subsides, add half the meat and sauté, tossing, until browned all over, about 5 minutes. Remove meat to the liquid in the casserole with a slotted spoon, and repeat with the remaining meat.

4. In the same skillet, sauté the reserved vegetables until browned, about 7 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to the casserole. Add the mushrooms to the skillet, and sauté until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

5. Stir the tomato paste into the casserole and bring to a simmer, skimming occasionally, until the meat is very tender (3 ½ to 4 hours). Stir in the salt and pepper, the reserved mushrooms and the orange zest and juice. Remove and discard the cheesecloth bag.

Teacher¹s Tips: 1. This recipe may be prepared 2 to 3 days ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Reheat before serving!
2. Serve with the same wine used in cooking—a substantial red.

Wine is the food that completes the meal.
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Old 09-14-2006, 11:57 AM   #33
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Chef June,

Those both look fantastic! Thanks.
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Old 08-12-2007, 11:14 PM   #34
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I never buy stew meat I buy a chuck roast trim out the fat and then cube it up for stew.. Why pay the butcher to cut up your meat when it only takes a few minutes. Second with all of the good ideas try adding some root veggies like turnip, rutabaggas, parsnips Jicama all add a demension to stew you don't find every day, add a few fresh green peas for garnish chopped parsley
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Old 10-16-2007, 08:30 AM   #35
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I use London Broil in my beef stew......yummy!
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Old 10-16-2007, 08:52 AM   #36
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I don't care for potatoes cook in a stew or pot roast so I make them without potatoes and serve them over mashed potatoes. It gives all that gravy a purpose in life.
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
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Old 06-20-2008, 12:28 AM   #37
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For a ridiculously simple beef stew, I like to mix a family size can of Cream of Mushroom, a normal size can of Cream of Chicken (both undiluted), a whole bunch of pressed garlic and about a pound and a half of chuck roast (trimmed but not cut) and let the whole thing go in the crockpot on low heat overnight. Easy, cheap and excellent!
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Old 06-21-2008, 04:10 PM   #38
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How our family makes it..

Drop your beef into water, boil the heck out of it until it is falling apart. Remove as much of the fat from the meat you can. Separate the meat into bite sized chunks.
Cut up potatoes, carrots, celery into bite sized pieces, drop into the broth with the meat. Add onions, I usually cut into 8th's. Bring that up to a boil then simmer until the vegetables are tender. Mix up some corn starch with water, add to the mixture along with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes(optional). Allow that to come up to boil and it will thicken into a nice stew..
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Old 06-21-2008, 05:02 PM   #39
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My stew is fairlu similar to several in here. One thing that I do a bit different is to use a 32 oz or so bottle of V8 Low Sodium for most of my liquid. That goves me a lot of vegetable flavor.

Stew beef - 2 1/2 to 3#
Red potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces.
bag of baby carrots.
Onion, cut in half then cut the resulting half into eithths,'
Couple bay leaves.
Large can of chunky tomatoes

Standard stuff from there - Brown the beef put 4 or 5 cloves of garlic in the oil when you are browning the beef.

Add V8 and tomatoes and onion

Simmer 2 - 3 hours unitl very tender.

40 minutes before it is done add the potatoes and carrots

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