Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday in Provence

On a day that is cold and blustery and dark and dreary such as today


There is only one thing left to do...

...Make a fabulous stew!

I got up early this morning and was greeted by a gray day and some wet windowsills. And then I was struck with inspiration. I hit the supermarket before the rain got too bad out. Moments later I left with one big bag of all the fixings needed to create my rainy day cure - Beef Stew Provencale, one of my favorite meals in general but ESPECIALLY a favorite for a cold and dreary day. I thought I would share it here in case you too like to have something splendid on the stove making your home smell delicious on a day like this. The combination of the rich wine and bright orange and earthy cloves just explode with cheerfulness.

Beef Stew Provencale

2 lbs beef (chuck or round is perfect for this) cut into 1 inch pieces.
2 tbsp oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced.
1 14.5 oz can of whole tomatoes
2 cups dry red wine (I find Yellow Tail's Shiraz/Cabernet blend is perfect for this)
The peel from one orange
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Heat a large dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp of the oil and 1/2 of the beef. Cook until a little browned on all sides - about 5 minutes. Remove the first batch and repeat with another 1 tbsp of oil and the rest of the beef. Remove the second batch when browned.

Lower heat to medium and throw in your carrots and onions. Cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring. Add tomatoes and their juice, breaking them with a spoon against the side of the pot. Add the wine and rest of the ingredients. Stir well

Turn heat on high and bring to a boil. Then cover, reduce to low and let simmer slowly for 2.5-3 hours. Your home will begin to smell divine. Do not be alarmed.

Once the time is up, remove the beef and boil the liquid for about 10 minutes to reduce it slightly. Adjust the seasonings to your taste if need me. Add back in the beef and serve with some delicious crusty bread.

If that is not a meal for a dreary day I don't know what is!


Razzle said...

Yum! I am tempted to go out to the store and get some beef and make it tonight too!

Diva (in Demand) said...

I love stews on dreary days too....but I have a question about this one. You said after it has simmered for 2.5-3 hours to remove the do I remove the wine?

Sarah said...

Ahh good catch Diva! That should have said beef, I edited it. Thanks!!

eileen said...

I made a stew like this once, and I made the mistake of trying to shake a dash of ground cloves directly into the pot. Unfortunately, the cap came off the spice container and about 12 tablespoons of ground cloves dumped into the pot. Those little f-ers are potent! What resulted was a hideous creation my roommate and I dubbed Clove Stew.

Diva (in Demand) said...

Ohhhhhhh now that makes sense! Thanks Sarah!

Stacey said...

This also sounds like a lovely recipe for drinking while cooking! :) And who doesn't love that?

ECS said...

I'm trying to make this tonight since it's a dreary day here, but I've got a few questions:

how do I remove the beef if it's all mixed in? Isn't it a bit complicated?

also, when you say to "add the wine and the rest of the ingredients", I assume you do mean the browned beef as well?

(I was thinking maybe the point was to brown the beef, then cook the liquid separately for a few hours, then boil it, then add the beef, but that sounds maybe sort of odd)

ECS said...

I ended up doing a bit of guesswork since it's dinnertime here and I couldn't wait for the answer so what I did was:

cook all the meat for the whole 3 hours

then, instead of trying to remove the meat I did the ol' trick with the flour and a bit of the liquid for some thickening.

worked like a charm and the result needed no spice adjustment whatsoever. The only problem is that it was so good I have almost no next-day leftovers!