February 25, 2010

A Lighter Stew

I love beef stews, but sometimes wine, potatoes, butter, and any other goodies your recipe might have (bacon comes to mind) can reek havoc on one's guilt. This recipe is almost completely guilt free and I promise not lacking in the taste or texture department. A couple of the ingredients might seem strange, but go with it at least once and see if you aren't completely happy with the results. To further the guiltless-track, I served this over no yolk egg noodles that I tossed with freshly chopped parsley. You could also serve this over rice, polenta, or mashed potatoes to name a few. If even a meat and potato loving hubby was happily gobbling it down, then I must have done something right!

Light Beef Stew
1 lb lean well trimmed stewing beef, boneless beef top sirloin, or tenderloin, cut into 1" chunks
1 large Spanish or yellow onion, cut in 1/2" slices
3 large garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
1 pint white/button mushrooms, cleaned, any large mushrooms halved or quartered
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
5 hearty fresh thyme sprigs
3 bay leaf
Juice of 1 lemon
5 tsp red wine vinegar
2 tbs olive oil
3/4 cup apple sauce (it is VERY important that is an unsweetened or no sugar added sauce. A normal apple sauce will make this something uber-sweet and highly unpleasant. It's not hard to find, even Mott's makes an unsweetened organic apple sauce which is what I use)
1 1/2 cups low sodium beef stock
1 tsp kosher or sea salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
flour or corn starch for dredging

-Heat 1 tbs of oil in dutch oven or other heavy bottom pot
-Salt and pepper meat, then lightly dredge in flour and shake off all excess
-Brown meat in oil until a nice crust forms, about 8 minutes total, set aside
-Add second tbs of oil and cook onions and garlic until softened, about 10 minutes
-Pour in 1/2 cup of stock and with wooden spoon, stir up any browned bits
-Add the rest of the stock, herbs (you can tie these up with some cotton string to make a bouquet garni or simply fish the bay and thyme stalks out later), vinegar, lemon juice, salt & pepper, and apple sauce. Stir to combine and bring to boil
-Taste and adjust the seasoning before adding carrots, mushrooms, and beef, reducing to low, and simmering for 1 hour covered
-After 1 hour, remove cover and let simmer for 15 minutes. For the final 15 minutes, put heat to high and let boil to create a richer, thicker stew
-Before serving, remove bay leaf and thyme stalks

Serves 3-4

February 16, 2010

Ode to: The Contessa

The Lady in Amagansett
She cooks in her kitchen with ease,
Tossing fresh mint with Spring peas,
Of her life I am jealous,
(Of her recipes, zealous),
Silver bowls! Fresh flowers! French cheese!

                                         -Duchess, 2010

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