The best way to stew about how cold it is

For me, it seems like I can tolerate winter until Christmas is over, but after that, I’m ready for it to just move on. The cold and the dark just aren’t my scene.

That being said, I do love cold-weather food, and not long ago I had a major craving for stew, so I found the delicious recipe I’m sharing with you this week.

The only problem was that it was so cold in our kitchen the day I made it, that when I turned the heat down on my pot to let the stew simmer, it cooled down way too much, and it ended up taking me an extra two hours to get supper finished.

Luckily, Joey was very kind about it, and the wait was most certainly worth it.

This recipe was first published in the New York Times by Molly O’Neill, a food columnist. You can find the original article at http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/4735-old-fashioned-beef-stew.

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Old-Fashioned Beef Stew

Ingredients

1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 pound beef stew meat, trim excess fat and cut into one-inch cubes

Vegetable or canola oil (a few teaspoons)

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 cup red wine

3-1/2 cups beef broth or stock

2 bay leaves

1 small onion

5 medium-sized carrots, peeled and cut into rounds

2 large potatoes (I used Russet), cut into cubes

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Put a large pot with a lid on medium heat and put just a couple teaspoons of oil in the bottom.

Put the flour, pepper and stew meat in a plastic zippered bag and toss to fully coat the meat in the flour and pepper mixture.

When the oil is hot, cook the meat in several batches (so it can be in a single layer in your pot) until it’s browned on all sides. Remove it from the pot and repeat until you’ve browned all the stew meat, adding oil as necessary between batches (it doesn’t have to be done all the way through—just nicely browned).

Add the red wine vinegar and red wine to the pot, scraping the bottom to get all the stuck-on bits of meat off the bottom.

Put the stew meat, beef stock and bay leaves in the pot. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce it to a simmer.

Cover the pot and let simmer for about 1-1/2 hours or until the beef is tender. Skim off any fat that comes to the top as it cooks.

Add the onions, carrots and potatoes and cook for another 30-40 minutes or until the vegetables are fork tender.

As the stew cooks, if the liquid disappears too quickly, add water or more stock as necessary.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Hopefully your stew will cook a little more quickly than mine did. I also ended up doubling the recipe above and froze quite a bit of this, and I can tell you from experience that it freezes and reheats really well if you’re looking for something to store away for a quick dinner.

I suppose if I have to be cold, at least I can enjoy some stew in my life. Now if I can just figure out how to make ice cream more pleasant to eat this time of year, I’ll be in business.

Lindsey Young is managing editor of The Clarion, the Kansas Publishing Ventures newspaper in Andale. She can be reached at lindseyclarion@gmail.com.

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