Thursday, February 18, 2010

Kitchen Klutz: Stew and Snuggie!

By Michèle De Meglio

With all this snow, sometimes you need a warm, hearty meal.

For that I looked to the tried-and-true beef stew recipe my grandmother passed down to my mother.

I’ve never made a stew before but it seems that you just throw a bunch of stuff in a pot, right?
Well, something like that.

I started by dipping pieces of steak (cut into cubes) in flour and then browning them in a sauté pan. This sounds easy but the trick is to cook the meat until it’s nearly done — not overdone. Unfortunately, I generally cook meat a bit too long because I’m afraid of eating bloody carcass. Gross!

Once I thought it was brown enough, I added two cups of water and three beef bouillon cubes.

After 45 minutes of simmering, it was time to put some veggies in that pot! In went potatoes, baby carrots, celery and an onion. Mushrooms joined the hot party toward the end of a second 45-minute simmering session.

Nearly two hours for a dish! That’s a long time to wait for grub.

As I impatiently stared at the clock, I thought of all the things I could be doing to pass the time. I could make a yummy dessert, blend a super-fruit smoothie — forget that! I’d rather play Nintendo Wii’s Dance Dance Revolution while the stew simmers. Now that’s the way to cook!

Verdict: A bad combination — chewy and bland. I clearly let the beef cook too long, as indicated by its rubbery texture. It’s like eating an old shoe.

On top of that, the stew needed a few more pinches of salt. It was way too plain!

There was one good thing about this dish. I ate it while sprawled out on my couch under a leopard-print Snuggie. That alone made this stew super fun to eat!

Beef Stew

1 lb steak, cubed
2 cups potatoes, chopped
1/2 cup baby carrots
1/4 cup celery, diced
1/4 cup onion, sliced
3 beef bouillon cubes
2 cups water
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp parsley, minced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced

Dredge beef in seasoned flour and brown in a sauté pan. Add water and bouillon cubes and simmer on low-medium heat for 45 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes. Add mushrooms and simmer for 15 minutes. While cooking, add salt and pepper to taste.

Kitchen Klutz follows 20-something Michèle De Meglio as she burns casseroles and her fingers, all in hope of trading frozen dinners for home cooking.


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