Monday, July 4, 2011

Guest Blog: A Kiwi's Winter Stew

From my Kiwi friend, Tim.  As I happily sweat in the 80 degree weather here at my parents' house in Southern California, they are experiencing winter.  But let's be honest - a quick look online as to what their weather is really like and it's still a high of 50-60 degrees.  Please.  :-)  Still, a nice hot stew would be welcome during winter no matter where you are!

It's pretty well mid winter in NZ right now and for some reason when contemplating what one wants to eat at this time of the year the slow cooked stew seems to end up at the top of the wish list. There are a couple of things that you really do need in the kitchen before attempting this sort of meal.  An oval cast iron  le creuset dish with lid is really useful....and,  despite the fact that slow cooking does make the ordinary taste extraordinary, quality fresh ingredients also help...

Ok so its Sunday afternoon and you want some comfort food for the Sunday evening meal.

Start by cubing 2 lbs of  fine NZ grass fed beef (or whatever beef is available in Hershey), roll in flour and then  brown in your cast iron casserole dish with a little olive oil and garlic.

Set aside.

Then  gently  make a sofrito by frying (very very slowly) a few (3) finely chopped onions, (3) grated carrots and  (4) chopped celery stalks in a little olive oil and garlic, again in the bottom of your cast iron casserole dish. As you gently fry add some  orange rind (no pith) , a couple of cinnamon sticks, a couple of bay leaves and some chopped parsley - season well with salt and pepper.... When you've finished this step the onions should be translucent and smell sweet....but don't worry if the celery is not properly cooked.

Add the browned beef. Add a US pint of beef stock and a US pint of decent red wine ( I use  NZ merlot from Hawkes Bay - merlot  is  a much  maligned but actually really good red wine).

Season well with salt and pepper then bring to the boil.

Then put on the oven for 3 hours at  350 degrees F for about 3 hours.

Once  cooked let rest for 5 mins so the meat can absorb more moisture then serve on a bed of basmati  rice with a side salad ....with another big glass of red wine......and a decent track on the stereo like the Tao of groove for example

Superb ....

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