Category Archives: Beef

Where’s the Beef Beef Stew

I’m officially embarrassed.astew

I’m preparing to cook dinner tonight for my in-laws, and my beloved is out of town, spending a frighteningly well-deserved weekend at the beach with her best friend, knitting and bird watching and beach walking, and ice-cream eating (and heaven only knows what else), and I’m planning to make a recipe from my mother-in-law’s recipe box, a recipe I’ve made dozens of times; it’s maybe my favorite recipe from my wife’s recipe box

So, because I love the recipe so much, I wrote about it in my column a couple of years back, then went looking for the recipe on this site, because the recipe card is worn to the point of not being so readable.

And so, I discovered that this recipe, perhaps one of my all-time favorites, is nowhere to be found on this site. One can Google it, one can search  for it in the newspaper’s archives, or one could come over here and try to decipher the recipe card.

Or one could read it right now. Here. Where it ought to be.

This is beef stew.  Simple, straightforward, and oh, so yummy, that it is likely to become your go-to beef stew recipe of all times.

But because we don’t eat red meat around here any more, I’ve adapted the recipe to our own liking, using chicken thighs instead of beef. Weird, huh?   Okay, let’s call it chicken-thigh stew.  But it’s so hearty that you’ll think of it as beef stew with a difference.

So what I’m going to do here is to re-publish the column I wrote for the paper, and let you see the whole reconstruction plan.  If you want the real beef stew recipe, read through the column to the end, or skip to the bottom for the original.  Either way, it’s a winner.

From the Lancaster Sunday News

A Family Favorite Gets Reimagined, Renamed

Posted: Sunday, January 9, 2011 12:06 am | Updated: 11:59 pm, Wed Sep 11, 2013.

It’s just a little tin box. You probably have one in your kitchen.

But oh, the treasures inside.

The box, adorned with homey images from a simpler time, is stuffed full of 3×5 index cards that Ellen got from her mother. On these cards – faded with age, occasionally smudged with gravy, handwriting made gauzy by the heat and humidity of a working kitchen – is a treasury of recipes collected over decades from friends and family and handed down from generation to generation.

The box contains an amazing range of tastes – from “Adele’s Cereal” to “Ham, Cheese, and Potato Casserole,” to “Porcupine Meat Balls” to “Zucchini Chocolate Cake”. Many of the recipes are from that simpler time, when “fat” was what “healthy” babies were, and when the family cook had most of the day to plan and execute the evening meal, including a loaf of fresh-baked bread.

That’s why this particular recipe caught my eye, and eventually my fancy. It reminded me of meals from my childhood. It was called “Marge Mason Stew.” My mother-in-law’s neighbor many years ago, Marge had created the perfect beef stew recipe – comfort-food good, and very simple. But more to the point, it can be adapted to almost any taste, including for folks who don’t eat red meat, like my family. Having made, and played with, the recipe dozens of times, I now use turkey or chicken thigh meat as a replacement for fatty beef cubes. This produces a stew that is almost identical in flavor and texture to beef stew, lower in fat and totally satisfying. And in a busy world, this recipe is perfect for a slow cooker.

But since this is now turkey stew, and I’ve added a couple of ingredients Marge didn’t have in her original recipe, I can no longer, in good faith, call it “Marge Mason Stew.” Now we call it …

MARGE SIMPSON STEW

1 1/2 pounds boneless turkey thigh meat, cut into 3/4-inch cubes

3 tablespoons whole-wheat flour

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground ginger

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups vegetable broth

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

3 red or Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed

3 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped

3/4 cup red wine

1/3 cup ketchup

1/2 cup frozen peas

Preheat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat.

Reduce vegetable broth in a saucepan until only 1 cup remains.

Place the flour, salt, pepper and ginger in a large food-storage bag, shake well, then add half the turkey cubes to the bag. Close the bag, and shake well until the turkey cubes are coated with the flour mixture. Place the flour-coated cubes into the pot and stir until they are fully browned and firm to the touch, about 10 minutes. Remove the meat cubes to a bowl.

Repeat with the remaining meat, adding more oil if necessary.

Return the original batch to the pot, add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Then add the broth, and 1/2 cup of wine, bring to a boil, and stir to deglaze the pot. Then add the herbs and ketchup. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

Add the onions, carrots, potatoes and remaining wine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for an additional hour, adding the peas in the last 15 minutes. Serve when the potatoes are tender.

To make this stew in a slow cooker, brown the meat in a heavy pan, deglaze the pan with the wine, place the meat and the glaze in the crock, cover with the remaining ingredients, and cook on the low setting for 8 hours.

Also, double the recipe. It gets better in the fridge.

Marge Mason Stew

Ingredients:aHeartyBeefStew

1 pound stew beef (beef tips are best)

4 tablespoons whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons ground ginger

1 can beef consomme

2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced

1/4 teaspoon each dried basil, dried thyme, paprika

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped carrots

4 baby red potatoes, quartered

3/4 cup red wine

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/3 cup ketchup

kosher salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Cut meat into 1/2-inch cubes. Prepare a large plastic bag with flour, salt, pepper, ginger. Place half the meat in the bag, toss to coat, and brown in batches in a large, heavy-bottom stew pot to sear. Remove from the pot, repeat with the remaining meat, and set aside

Add the consomme and garlic to the pot and simmer, stirring to remove the brown bits from the bottom of the pot.  Then add 1/2 cup wine, herbs, tomato paste,  and ketchup, and stir well to mix.  Simmer for 1.5 hours.  Add the onions, carrots, potatoes and the remaining wine. Taste and salt and pepper to taste.  Cook for another hour.

Serve immediately.

Orange Teriyaki Flank Steak and Sweet Potato Fries

I wrote once in my column about Ellen’s little tin box.  It’s magical.  flankChock full of recipes from so many years of collecting. She got the box at Hershey Chocolate World when she was in high school (not really that long ago), and in the ensuing years collected recipes from magazines and newspapers and various other sources, including many of her mother’s recipes, which she wrote down on 3×5 cards.  It features recipes like “porcupine meatballs,” and “shake-and-bake chicken,” and “Mrs. Fuller’s soup,” and “Chowning Tavern’s Brunswick stew,” and corn pudding, and…and…and…on and on and on.  As I said, it’s magic!  Many of the recipes have become part of our current dinner rotation, and I fell in love with her over the meat loaf recipe (romantic, huh?).  The meat loaf is so good that I have abandoned my mother’s recipe and my own recipe, and even the Epicure Market’s recipe, because the one in the tin box is perfect.

That said, I’m going to give you a simple one, a favorite around here, one that gets requested over and over again, and now that I’ve discovered the Char-Broil infrared grill, it’s a 10-minute breeze and a serious winner.  I tend to want my beef done simply–salt and pepper and a little garlic and butter–but this one, a large steak grilled and sliced to serve, just wants a wonderful marinade.  This one is it. Simple and elegant, tasty and memorable.  If you crave a beef supper with a little zing, try this one. Serve it with a simple cold salad and some oven roasted sweet-potato fries.  Fantastic!

Grilled Teriyaki Flank Steak (or London Broil)

Ingredients:

2- to 3-pound flank steak or London Broil

1/2 cup Teriyaki sauce

1/4 cup dry sherry

1 tablespoon fresh orange zest

1 tablespoons canola oil

2 teaspoons freshly ground ginger

 

Preparation:

Combine all the ingredients in a pan large and deep enough to allow the steak to lie flat and to hold the marinade and the steak.

Deeply pierce both sides of the steak with a fork,  at 1-inch intervals.  Place the steak in the marinade, allow to rest for 1/2 hour, then turn.  Turn the steak every hour, marinating for at least four hours, but no more than eight.

Prepare a charcoal grill, allowing the charcoal to turn white, and resting under half the cooking grate; or preheat one burner of a gas grill for 10 minutes.

Allow the steak to come to room temperature before grilling.  Place the steak directly over the hot coals or the burner for five minutes, turn and repeat on the other side.  Then move the steak off the direct heat and continue cooking another five to seven minutes for medium-rare steak–or minutes longer if you prefer your steak more done–until the steak reaches 140 degrees internal temperature  measured with an instant-read thermometer.  Remove the steak from the grill, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and allow to rest 10-15 minutes before slicing.

Slice the steak across the grain and serve with small bowls of Teriyaki sauce for dipping.

Perfect Oven-roasted Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients:

1-2 large sweet potatoes

1/2 tablespoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Cut the ends off the potatoes, then slice them into 1/2-inch slices.  Turn the potatoes to stack the slices, then slice them into 1/2-inch slices again, to make half-inch by half-inch potato sticks.  Place them in a mixing bowl, add the salt, pepper, garlic, and olive oil and toss to coat well.

Lay the fries in a single layer on foil-lined baking sheets (use more than one baking sheet if necessary.  Don’t stack the potato fries.

Bake for 15 minutes, remove from the oven, turn over, and bake for 10 – 15 minutes more. They are done when they begin to brown and crisp.  Serve with the steak, and a dipping sauce of your choice or ketchup or ranch dressing.

 

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