Autumn is here!
The mornings and nights are a little chillier nowadays. This gives me an excuse to switch my cooking to warmer, "stick to your belly" meals... A little comfort food doesn't hurt every now and again , does it?
I also have a son who spends a lot of time in a cold ice rink on many nights. For sure I have to prepare meals that will warm him when he comes home!
Last week this particular son requested that I make beef stew.
When I was in the hospital a couple of years ago, my mother came to stay for 2 months.
She was an awesome support system to everyone of us.
She kept my household running smoothly in my absence.
She made beef stew.
Everyone fell in love with it.
Fast forward to the recent beef stew request... I have made it many times before, but all of a sudden, doubted my method - afraid that it would be too soupy instead of a thick base.
What do I do in a time of cooking distress?
What any girl would do of course... CALL MOM!
So, here I am on the phone calling my mother (AKA Paula's cooking hotline)...
Me: "mom. stew."
Mom: "oh, hi honey! Stew? Are you making it the way I always make it?"
Me: "yes, and I will be darned if I can find the recipe! I have a feeling I know how to make it, but I'm unsure and I don't want it to turn out wrong..."
(Turns out I was right all along, but I'm sure it gave her a thrill to help me out. Plus I'm so blessed to be able to still call my mother for recipes, so I do it as much as possible!)
Have any of you ever seen the movie Wedding Crashers? There is a scene where crazy Will Ferrell (Chaz), who still lives with his mother, asks for meatloaf... "Mah... The meatloaf!"
Cracks me up every time!
My conversation on the phone with her was a little like that, barking orders like "stew!" without even saying "hello" first!
I tried to find a video clip to post here to share, but couldn't find a single one without the "F" word in it. So, if you have never seen the movie and don't know what I'm talking about, just go on YouTube and search "Wedding Crashers meatloaf"...
If you've never made stew, here's how to make a great one!
•Dredge beef stew cubes in a mixture of flour, salt, and pepper.
• Roughly chop up one onion.
• Add beef and onion to a sauce pot with about 2 tablespoons oil. Cook until meat begins to brown and onions begin to soften.
• Add 1/4 cup red wine to deglaze pan, scraping off all brown bits. Cook until reduced by about half.
• Roughly chop up some celery and carrots, add to pot. (I used three of each.)
• Cook over medium heat for about one half hour, or until vegetables begin to soften.
• Broth should thicken due to the flour used on the beef. If it's too "brothy", you might want to add 2 teaspoons of Minute Tapioca:
• I also cook my pasta separately (we like bow ties). You can either put on another separate pot for that or just throw them in the boiling water from the potatoes once the potatoes are done. I cook the potatoes and pasta separately so my stew isn't really starchy.
• When they are done I throw the potatoes, the pasta and a drained can of peas into the stew.
• Cook for a few minutes longer just enough to warm the peas.
I can feel it stick to my ribs now... and I'm warm!