Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Parker's Beef Stew

Carl was watching Barefoot Contessa one day and saw this recipe, he immediately asked me to make it. Well, I kind of forgot about the stew, even after I specifically bought stew meat at Sam's when it was marked down! I asked Carl what he wanted for dinner when he got home this week, and he promptly responded with STEW! I looked around for a little while to see if I found one that sounded better than this, but nothing seemed to compare. Meat and potatoes were staples...but all the additions to this one sounded heavenly! The prep time was rather intensive. I'd say it took me about an hour of prep and then the cook time was 2 hours, but the smells were worth those two hours and the taste backed it up! You could definitely taste the wine and rosemary- one herb I've never cooked with before today! Yay!


* 2 1/2 pounds good quality chuck beef, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
* 1 (750-ml bottle) good red wine (I only used about 3/4 of the bottle...what? I wanted a glass of it!)
* 2 whole garlic cloves, smashed
* 3 bay leaves
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* Kosher salt
* Freshly ground black pepper
* Good olive oil
* 2 yellow onions, cut into 1-inch cubes
* 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut diagonally in 1 1/2-inch chunks
* 1/2 pound white mushrooms, stems discarded and cut in 1/2
* 1 pound small potatoes, halved or quartered
* 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
* 2 cups or 1 (14 1/2-ounce can) chicken stock or broth
* 1 large (or 2 small) branch fresh rosemary
* 1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (I'm not a fan...so I left these bad boys out)
* 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
* 1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas


*I DID NOT DO THIS- I just marinated it for 2 hours the day of* Place the beef in a bowl with red wine, garlic, and bay leaves. Place in the refrigerator and marinate overnight.

The next day, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Combine the flour, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 tablespoon pepper. Lift the beef out of the marinade with a slotted spoon and discard the bay leaves and garlic, saving the marinade. In batches, dredge the cubes of beef in the flour mixture and then shake off the excess. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot and brown half the beef over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Place the beef in a large oven-proof Dutch oven and continue to brown the remaining beef, adding oil as necessary. (If the beef is very lean, you'll need more oil.) Place all the beef in the Dutch oven.

Heat another 2 tablespoons of oil to the large pot and add the onions, carrots, mushrooms, and potatoes. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Place all the vegetables in the Dutch oven over the beef. Add 2 1/2 cups of the reserved marinade to the empty pot and cook over high heat to deglaze the bottom of the pan, scraping up all the brown bits with a wooden spoon. Add the chicken stock, rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables in the Dutch oven and bring to a simmer over medium heat on top of the stove. Cover the pot and place it in the oven to bake it for about 2 hours, until the meat and vegetables are all tender, stirring once during cooking. If the stew is boiling rather than simmering, lower the heat to 250 or 275 degrees F.

Before serving, stir in the frozen peas, season to taste, and serve hot.

Sweet & Sour Chicken

I first spotted this on Jen's blog...which led me to Ashley's Blog and she apparently got it from Kitchen Cafe. PHEW! Anyway, it looked so good and I had all the ingredients, double bonus. Oh and it tasted delicious....TRIPLE bonus! It's not the fastest dinner, but the prep time doesn't take all that long. Either way, it's worth it. I made some white rice and mini egg rolls to go along with it. And thank goodness for leftovers...I'm going to want this again tomorrow! I'm anxious to make this when Carl is home and can enjoy it!

Sweet and Sour Chicken
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup canola oil

Cut boneless chicken breasts into chunks. Season with salt and pepper. Dip chicken in cornstarch and then in egg. Fry in a little oil until brown but not cooked through. Place in a single layer in a baking dish. Mix sauce ingredients (below) together and pour over chicken.

¾ cup sugar
4 tablespoons ketchup
½ cup vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic salt

Bake for one hour at 325 degrees. Turn chicken every 15 minutes. If you like extra sauce, make another batch of sauce and bring it to a boil on the stovetop. Stir constantly and let cook over medium heat until thickened and reduced - about 6-8 minutes.
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