Newsflash. It’s gotten cold down South. We’ve been threatened with snow every other day for two weeks, but have barely seen any. Oh, but that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been any snow days. The schools are handing out those like Oprah hands out cars.
“You get a snow day! You get a snow day! Everybody gets a snow day!”
My high school never had snow days when I was there. And sometimes it actually snowed and we were one of the only schools still in session. Now, severe weather is in the forecast and it’s cancelled. There have been runs on the grocery store several times a week. I’m honestly surprised they can keep up as well as they have. I mean, you say the word “snow” in Chattanooga, Tennessee and the entire city is out of batteries and milk.
But enough of this snow talk. This blog isn’t for that kind of fairy nonsense. The main point is that it’s cold and do you know what that means? Stew. It means stew. Because stews are heavy and rich. Stews are comfort. Stews warm you up from the inside. It’s stew-time, people.
Now, I’m personally not a huge fan of beef. I just prefer chicken, fish, and veggies. But I absolutely love Beef Stroganoff. Perhaps it’s because it doesn’t taste like boring, ol’ beef. It’s zesty. And it’s served with buttered noodles, which I’m a sucker for. (I’m really a sucker for any type of noodle, but that is beside the point).
Let’s get our stew on.
- 1 lb of Beef Chuck, cubed (You can just pick up a thing of that “stew beef” at the meat section in the grocery store. It works perfectly.)
- 1 small Onion, thinly sliced
- 1 small Shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 pint of Button Mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 1/2 cup of Red Wine
- 3 tablespoons of Flour
- Beef Stock
- 1 to 2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard, depends on how zesty you are feeling
- 1/4 cup of Sour Cream
- Oil for browning meat/veggies
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Eggs noodles, buttered (cooked according to the package, of course)
THE METHOD. Now, stews are all made the same way. It’s called the stew method. I know, they really put a lot of thought into that one. Any type of stew is made by following this method, which is good because then you can take the method and apply it to all kinds of tough cuts of meat. We’re teaching technique here, not recipes. Recipes are just the teaching vehicle of the technique.
- Get a dutch-oven type dish hot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, brown the beef on all sides. Do this by taking a small amount of the beef and seasoning it with salt and pepper. Add a little bit of oil to the pan and brown up the meat. Repeat this until all of the meat has been browned.
- Add a little bit more oil to the same pan if needed. Add your mushrooms, onions, and shallots and cook until caramelized. Stews are all about building layers of flavor. These layers are created by browning food. Not burning food, but browning it. This should take about 10 minutes or so.
- You’ll notice brown bits at the bottom of the pan. These are delicious brown bits. These are the brown bits that will create that rich flavor for your stew. We need to remove these brown bits from the bottom of the pan and this is done through deglazing, which is accomplished by adding liquid to a hot pan to dissolve those brown bits into the sauce. We will complete this process with red wine. So add your red wine to the pan. Scrape those bits off the bottom of the pan. Let the wine reduce until it is nearly dry, a term we chefs refer to as au sec (it’s French. You should look it up).
- Now add your flour and stir, allowing it to cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add you beef back into the pot along with any juices that are left on the plate/in the bowl.
- Add enough beef stock until the beef is completely covered.
- Bring this to a boil then reduce it to a simmer. Cover and allow it to cook for at least an hour. I personally let mine cook for 2+ hours and it comes out amazing (Not to toot my own horn or anything).
- Turn the heat off and add your dijon and sour cream.
- Serve it over buttered egg noodles.
ENJOY IT. This dish is perfect to warm you up on a cold evening. It’s a good thing it’s still Winter and you can make it this evening. Yup. That’s right. Go ahead and make it tonight. Your family won’t regret it. You sure as hell won’t regret it. But if by some weird occurrence that you do, have your people call my people. We’ll work it out…
Until next time…