9/23/09 - Stewy Perfection

**Sorry this is late!! I got my ass handed to me yesterday by either a migraine or the plague and I just couldn't drag myself to my laptop.**

As a self-professed foodie there are several dishes that I’ve been trying to perfect for several years. They’re mostly down home comfort foods. I’m pretty sure it’s my Nebraska roots coming to the surface that I don’t really care all that much if I ever perfect Beef Bourguignon or Mole , but I care deeply about the state of my chicken fried steak with perfect country gravy and I take my lasagna very personally. So you can start to understand why I could get so excited to tell you that I think I’ve finally nailed the perfect beef stew recipe.

I’ve seriously been working on this one for at least 8 years and it’s different every single time I make it. I’ve tried everything from letting its simmer all day to starting with already tender, perfect cuts of meat for a quick thrown together stew. Everything from a whole bottle of wine and orange peel to homemade beef broth and a whole head of roasted garlic. Although knowing me as you do by now, it should not come as a shock to find out that the recipe nearing perfection is somewhere in between all of this (well except for the orange, I pulled that out entirely at my family’s request).

The only tweak left is to get it a bit thicker (to appease my husband who is obsessed with super thick stew) and tone down the acid from the wine a bit. I think if I just up the quantity of flour for the roux and throw in a pinch or two of sugar at the same time I add the veggies, I should be able to leap both hurdles in a single bound. And to solve my loathing of cooked carrots, I’m not adding the veggies until about 30 minutes before the whole thing is done that way they lend their flavor and sweetness without turning into nasty little pucks of mush in my mouth. Throw in peas, mushrooms and potatoes and it’s hard to get much heartier than that on a cold day.

I think my Grandmother would be proud. Now I’m ready to move on to my next conquest – macaroni and cheese.

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