beef stew with apples

"What's for Dinner Honey?"


It has been downright cold in the morning, and we're tired of light meals and salads, so we asked we asked Signe, our Farmers Market foodie, to find us something with meat in it- a man meal please!

So of course she went to Bob Gingrich, because he knows his way around the kitchen.  Signe sat with him in his kitchen- jammed with cookbooks and his favorite tools- a dutch oven and cast iron skillet.  He can make a great meal out of nothing {that would come in handy, since that's what Betty's fridge is filled with} but would rather shop the Farmers Market- both Wednesday and Saturday.

His beef stew is legendary, and we have the recipe.  {It may look intimidating, what with all those ingredients, but any recipe in which you basically leave the thing to cook for a few hours while you watch Hulu clips of Pushing Daisies can't be all bad}.  Take that Martha Stewart.

Beef Stew with Beer and Apples: from Bob Gingrich
Serves 4

2 1/2 pounds beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespooons corn oil
2 cups dark beer [try local Mayflower Brewing Co.]
1 tablespoon butter
4 shallots, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup pitted prunes
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 medium apples, peeled, cored, seeded, and sliced

Directions

In a bowl, combine the beef, brown sugar, and nutmeg. Toss well, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
Remove the beef from the marinade and dry it on paper towels [reserve the marinade]. Sprinkle the beef with salt and pepper.
In a large skillet over high heat, heat the oil until it is almost smoking. Brown the beef in two batches, turning the pieces constantly until they are golden all over.
Remove the beef from the skillet. Add 1 1/2 C of beer and let it bubble while you scrape the bottom of the skillet; set it aside.
In a large flameproof casserole, melt the butter and cook the shallots until soft.
Add the flour, turn up the heat to medium high and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Lower the heat and add the cinnamon, tomato paste, salt, pepper, the beer mixture in the skillet, the marinade, and the stock.
Bring to a boil, lower the heat, partially cover the pan, and simmer the beef for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, or until the beef is tender. Add water to the pan during cooking if the sauce seems too thick.
Add the mustard, prunes, and apples and cook for 5 minutes.
Add  the remaining 1/2 cup beer and cook 1 minute more. Serve at once.

Serve over mashed potatoes or the Celery Duo {recipe below}

Pair the stew with a Zinfandel, or red Rhone {ask at Bare Cove Wine Annex} or try it with a fall beer from Sam Adams, Harpoon or Mayflower.

Celery Duo

Just in case you thought that celery was merely a vehicle to  hold large amounts of peanut butter, think again.  This is delicious, and elevates formerly chorus line celery to culinary supporting actor status.  You may need to ask at the market for celery root- [don't worry, it'll make you look like a foodie].  Serve them together with braised ribs, meats, or stew.

Celery Root Puree

1 quart whole milk
2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
2 pounds celery root, peeled and cut into eight pieces
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and halved
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 8 pieces
salt and freshly ground white pepper

Put the milk, 4 cups water, the coarse salt, celery root, and potatoes in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
Lower the heat and cook at a simmer until the vegetables can be easily pierced with the point of a knife, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain the vegetables and return them to the pan.
Put the pan back over low heat and toss the vegetables in the pan just enough to cook off their excess moisture; transfer the vegetables to the work bowl of a food processor.
Add the butter and process‑taking care not to overwork the mixture‑‑‑‑just until the puree is smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper.


Braised Celery

2 bunches celery
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 carrot peeled trimmed and quartered
1 turnip peeled trimmed and quartered
salt and freshly ground white pepper
2 1/2 cupz low sodium chicken stock

Trim the bottom of each bunch of celery‑but make certain the stalks remain together‑then measure 4 to 5 inches up from the bottom and cut the celery top off at that point {you'll be using the bottom part}.
Remove and discard the 3 or 4 tough outer stalks.
Run a vegetable peeler over the exterior of the outer celery stalks to remove the stringy part of the vegetable, then cut each bunch of celery lengthwise into quarters. Keep close at hand.

Warm the oil in a large skillet. Add the carrot, turnip, and celery quarters, season with salt and pepper, and cook, 3 minutes.
Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Adjust the heat so that the stock simmers steadily and cook the vegetables for about 25 minutes, or until they can be pierced easily with the point of a knife.
When the vegetables are tender, the liquid should be just about gone, so that you should have tender vegetables lightly glazed with the stock.
Remove and discard the carrots and turnips and serve the celery immediately