Sunday, November 18, 2012

Beef Stew with Fruits

When I find stew beef marked down I buy it,for I prefer my beef as a nugget in a stew rather than as a slab. I like a good conventional stew with carrots, onions, and potatoes, spiced by a little vinegar, some tomato paste and garlic, and bound together by flour, a corpulent fellow who thumbs his nose at long winters.

But this afternoon's recipe would regard flour as a fat man who tries to sit too close. This stew I think would be for cold nights in a brief winter, for it incorporates two fruits not from cold country- the pomegranate and the orange- and only one friut of the North- the apple. After that the other players are the same old crowd.

The apples go into this stew in chunks, just as the beef does. The pomegranate arrives as molasses, and the orange comes as a little juice, and some slices that some might eat, but that some cooks might discard before serving.

The ingredients list-

Four or five small red potatoes, peeled and diced

1/2 diced up yellow onion

Two carrots, peeled and cut into half moons

Two whole peeled garlic cloves

Two apples, peeled and cored and cut into chunks. I used small Jonathan apples from an economy bag and not those individual giant apples in rows with the little stickers on them as though they were prize steers at the county fair.

One tangerine or orange cut into three unpeeled slices.

One liter of chicken stock

One pound of stew beef .

Sea salt to taste

A one inch chunk of butter for the stew and a sliver to use to brown the beef in a cast iron fry pan.

A tablespoon of white wine vinegar to deglaze the cast iron pan.

A shake or two of Herbes de Provence

Three tbs of tomato paste

Two tablespoons pomegranate molasses-do not substitute pomegranate juice

Two tablespoons of orange juice

One bay leaf.

Saute the onion in butter right in the soup pot until it is soft and golden. Season with sea salt to sweat it. Remember that undercooked onions are a sin against soups and stews. Put them in raw and they will stay raw proclaiming to the world that you, the cook, are either careless or an amateur.

Brown the beef in a lightly buttered cast iron fry pan. When they are browned, and if the onions are ready add them to the soup pot. Deglaze the cast iron with the vinegar and scrape it in with the meat. Now add the chicken stock, and everything else.

Cover and simmer over over medium low heat. Do not boil this. This stew is not instant. Plan on a slowcooked two hours. Then remove the lid and allow the sauce to reduce by a third. Remove the bay leaf. Leave in the orange slices for someone, intrigued, will eat them. Add more salt to taste.

This recipe should serve four.

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