The only time you will see me eat gravy

December 6, 2007

At some point during my childhood, I had a bad gravy experience. I remember doing my normal drowning of the mashed potato mound on my plate, taking a huge bite, and spitting the mouthful back out.

Was it overly salted? Generally nasty? I dunno. I was maybe 10 when this happened, so I have been essentially gravy-free for 26 years. Except for the gravy in beef stew.

I haven’t had the inclination to make stew in several years. The furnace at my office has been uncooperative for a week, so we froze until yesterday, when my co-worker and I decided that we were being stupid and went home to work for the rest of the day. Today, I am feeling a bit under the weather, so I am snuggled up with The Gidge, tea and my laptop, plugging away at the work pile that only seems to get taller every day.

The thought struck me about 9 AM – something to nosh that isn’t a lot of work but sticks to the ribs.

Have I mentioned that it’s very, very cold outside?

On a side note, The Gidge was introduced to real, measurable snow on Tuesday night. The Man and I had a good belly laugh because she ran around like an idiot. Her little black face was white with snow because she kept shoving it into the cold stuff. We take her out with her little white coat and pink booties – particularly this morning, when it was only about 10 degrees. As long as she’s got the boots and the coat happening, she romps through the snow like a pro. Take those off and she pussyfoots her way to the area we shoveled off for her use and then, with a long-suffering look at me, trudges her way back to the door.

Yes, we shoveled the grass. The snowfall we received Tuesday night comes up to her armpits….legpits….ah hell, her tummy.

Back to food. I had things lurking in the fridge from last week’s organic delivery that needed to be used: parsnips, potatoes, carrots, onions. I had green beans from the garden that I had frozen during the summer. Ah, the makings of stew!

I also had a little bit of merlot in a bottle on the counter. I was all set. So I whipped up a batch of no-knead bread and set it to rise (no way was I waiting 18 hours – I set the bread proof cycle on my oven and popped it in there for 4 hours before baking).

Gotta have crusty bread to sop up the stew gravy.

Sorry for the crappy picture – forgot to take one until I was preparing to put the leftovers in the fridge.

Beef Stew – My Way
For the CrockPot

1 pound beef stew meat
3/4 cup diced onion
1 cup diced carrots
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt plus a pinch or so
1 cup diced parsnips
1 cup diced red potatoes
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup green beans, cut into 1″ pieces
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 cups beef stock
1 cup red wine
1/2 tsp ground thyme
2 bay leaves

In a large skillet, melt the butter and olive oil together over medium heat. Add the stew meat, a pinch of salt, and onion; cook until meat is browned and onion is tender (about 10 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the cornstarch; toss to coat. Add the mixture to the CrockPot.

Pour the beef stock and wine over the meat mixture. Add the the remaining ingredients and then stir together. Cover and set the CrockPot to cook for 6 hours on high heat.

Don’t forget to fish out the bay leaves before serving.
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