Monday, March 1, 2010

Provençal beef stew

Provençal beef stew is a meal to make on a day when you're going to be hanging around.  It takes at least 3 hours in the oven at low temperature to really break down the lean meat fibers.  By the time dinner's ready, your family will be screaming for you to serve it up!

Provençal Beef Stew

Make a bouquet garni by wrapping the following in cheesecloth:
1 bay leaf
1 stalk celery
2 sprigs fresh parsley
3 sprigs fresh thyme
Strip of orange peel

Stew ingredients:

Olive oil
4 slices of bacon
2 lbs beef stew meat

2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb carrots, sliced into 2 inch pieces
2 T tomato paste

12 oz baby bella mushrooms, quartered
1 bottle (750 ml) red wine

1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped
Grated zest from the orange

Assemble the bouquet garni and set it aside.  Brown the bacon in a dutch oven; remove and crumble, leaving drippings.  Place the bacon in a bowl.  Brown the stew beef in the drippings and remove it to the bowl.  Add olive oil if needed and brown the vegetables through the carrots.  Stir in the tomato paste and remove the mixture to the bowl.  Brown the mushrooms in oil until tender; remove them to a smaller bowl and set aside.  

Add the wine to the dutch oven and bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits.  Add the vegetable and meat mixture and the bouquet garni.  Add hot water if needed to just cover everything.   Cut a piece of parchment paper to just fit the top of the pot and place it over the stew.

Cook the stew, covered only by the parchment, in a 250 oven for about 3 hours, checking each hour to make sure the liquid level stays high enough.  Add the mushrooms for the last 10 to 15 minutes to heat through.  Remove the bouquet garni, and serve topped with chopped parslep and orange zest.

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