Sunday, January 31, 2010

Beef Stew

It's 9pm on a Sunday night and literally the first time I have sat down with peace and quiet for days! Mark and Brianna are both sound asleep in bed. I promised in my last post that I was going to cook something with barley. I have never cooked with barley before, so this called for a new recipe. However, with an 11 month old daughter who has recently learned how to throw a temper tantrum, it has been was not the best week for researching something new. Instead, I adapted one of my older recipes.

It was 6am Tuesday morning and I was up and ready to get my day started. The baby thankfully had an early morning bottle and snuggled back into bed for some sleep. I quickly cleaned the bathroom (I have found that if I take 15 minutes here and there to do cleaning, I end up having a somewhat clean house). I then hopped in the shower, got dressed, and headed to the kitchen to start some coffee. With a caffeine buzz started and the clock just rounding 6:30am, I decided I would start dinner! Yep, 6:30am and dinner was started. I dug out the crockpot again and got to cookin!

Beef Stew
This recipe will serve about 12 people. The beauty of stew is that you can freeze it.
- 3 lbs of stew meat (I used a chuck roast, cubed)
- 1 pkg of celery, chopped (about 8-10 stalks, or 2 cups)
- 1 pkg pre-sliced carrots (to save me chopping time! also about 2 cups)
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 64 oz of beef broth
- 1.5 cups of good red wine (whatever you have on hand)
- 2 cups of barely
- Seasonings: I use whatever I have in the cupboard but that would include
* Salt and pepper to taste
* 2 bay leaves (remove before serving)
* 1 tsp (or a pinch) of cinnamon, adds great flavor
* 2 tsp Rosemary, add more or less to your liking
* 2 tsp Thyme

Other things you can add but I didn't have on hand
- Potatoes (I used barely instead of adding potatoes)
- Zucchini
- peas

To the crockpot throw in your vegetables first and add meat on top. Add spices. I tend not to measure on spices. Don't be afraid to experiment and use more or less to what looks right. I find it hard to over season a beef stew. Add the wine and broth until the meat is almost covered. Turn on low/warm and let cook all day. I added my barley just 1 hour before serving or you can add right away.

I tend to leave my meat in big chunks and then flake it apart in the last hour or two of it cooking. It will be so tender and juicy that it will just fall right apart.

The entire family was in heaven as we walked in the door from work and smelt the beautiful aroma of the stew. I even shared some beef stew with Brianna. The meat and vegetables are so tender that they are easy for her to eat.

Stay tuned for my Enchilada recipe. My bedtime is approaching (yes, I do go to bed at 10am!) :) For those of you who have read and tried my recipes it makes my day when I hear you have tried them!!! Good night everyone.

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