[ad#co-1-2] The opening duo of England cricket team, Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook came into…
Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone
Everybody loves a good stew. It is the perfect winter warmer. The best way to make you feel all warm inside when it’s freezing cold outside. A stew is the quintessential homemade dish and yet it is one that not everybody is too confident about preparing for themselves. Whether it is because it takes a long time to prepare, or there are too many ingredients to keep track off, not too many people are able to pull off this great little dish. Here then are five easy steps to follow for all of those who want to have a stew but just didn’t know how to go about making it.
Once you’ve got all of your ingredients together you need to start following the simple process that will bring them all together in that great big pot. The beauty of a stew is that due to the way it is prepared almost anything can go into it. The problems people sometimes encounter is just how to bring all of these separate tastes and flavours together properly.
Start with the Beef: A stew can also be made with lamb but traditionally beef is the main meat ingredient. Once you’ve got the oven preheated you need to put some flour and your cubes of beef into a plastic bag. Seal the bag and then shake it around to make sure that all of the meat is evenly covered in flour. Let the beef sit in there for a while as the oven gets good and hot. Once your oven is ready place the flour covered pieces of beef on an oven tray in the centre of the oven. Leave them to cook for twenty minutes and then turn them over and leave them for another twenty minutes to get nice and cooked on the other other side.
Sautée those Onions: As with most dishes, onions are a key factor to any good stew and they need to be prepared accordingly. While the meat is browning in the oven you need to add some olive oil and butter to the Dutch oven and put the heat to medium-low. Once the contents are nice and hot, you add the onions to the mix, making sure to turn them frequently until they start to take on a golden colour. Keep at this for around 15 minutes, then take away the heat and put the lid on the Dutch oven.
Assembling the Stew: Once the beef is browned on both sides and the onions have been cooked to perfection, it is time to bring all the rest of the ingredients into the mix. First add the beef to the Dutch oven that contains the onions and pour enough hot in there so that everything is just covered. Bring the contents to the boil and then bring the heat down to its lowest and simmer like this for about an hour. Once the hour is up its time to throw in all of your other ingredients. Mushrooms, parsnips, basil, tarragon, garlic, and whatever else you love to throw in there needs to be added and then covered with water. You bring it all to the boil, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Once this time has elapsed, you add the potatoes and the carrots, cover them in water again, and bring it all back to the boil. Lower the lid, let simmer but stir occasionally, and in thirty minutes you’ll be ready to get that ladle in there and start serving.
Serve it Right: This is the kind of dish that doesn’t need any fancy additions to it. Its beauty is in its simplicity. Serve the stew with some big doorsteps of freshly baked potatos, and put a little beetroot or red cabbage on the side if you want to give a little bit more of variety.
Add a touch of Red: The fifth piece of advice is the easiest one to follow. A nice glass of red wine on the side never goes a miss with this dish.
And please remember to make a huge portion. Everybody knows that a good stew always tastes better on the second day. Enjoy!
By Simon Miller – a British writer and a blogger who is also a keen chef in his spare time. Simon recently got a new kitchen from KitStone – hand-made Wooden Kitchens.