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two stew for you

November 11, 2011

My Grandma makes a beef stew that is all the rage in our family.  Once, over the holidays, she sent some back with me to Boston, and K and I actually ate it with spoons, cold from the container, on the highway before we even made it over the Tappan Zee Bridge in Jersey.   Her recipe calls for doing it in a dutch oven; cutting the veggies up into little bite size pieces, and using tapioca as the thickening agent.   Of course – I had to mess with a good thing and recreate (translate: butcher) the recipe.  First of all, I did the entire thing in the Crock Pot after browning the beef.   Second, I kept all of my veggies whole because I had some very beautiful purple carrots and yellow parsnips – and I love how rustic they look uncut.  Gosh, did I throw a beet in there too?  Third, I used quinoa in place of tapioca, which sounded brilliant at the time.  And there was that cup of wine I dumped in as well….  in retrospect, I wince at these actions!

If it wasn’t obvious already, now would be a good time to mention that my version fell completely flat in comparison – and I humbly surrender her recipe as the far superior dish.  While I still think you can finish the stew in your Crock Pot after searing the meat, the tapioca was clearly a crucial ingredient.  So don’t mess with that one, folks.  As for my random beet…don’t do that either.

I’ve posted the recipe below – what the card says on the back is “bring to a boil, then remove from heat.  Bake at 350 for 1.5 hours.  Stir in potatoes, carrots & celery and bake for 1 hour long, or until meat and vegetables are tender.  Remove bay leaf. Yields 6-8 servings.”

I like to serve this in bowls with grilled bread and a big, juicy red wine.   The Blair Wedding Cuvee (a Bordeaux blend and a gift from my Aunt + Uncle) was sweeter than we expected, but we enjoyed it nonetheless.  (I’d actually like to visit that winery next time I’m home in PA…it’s in Kutztown!)

(one final note: my pictures don’t match the recipe.  The images are from my sub-par flop.)

beets: don't do it.

post-browning. into the pot.

leftover vino: I used too much.

Blair: a delicious, slightly sweet, slightly effervescent cuvee from Pennsylvania.

Quinoa in the stew: average at best.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Hallie permalink
    November 11, 2011 10:23 am

    This post came at the perfect time – Will definitely be featuring this dish over the weekend! Any recommendations for a less-sweet, juicy red to pair?

    • netrez permalink*
      November 11, 2011 10:36 am

      How about a Ravenswood County Series Zin? Or is Steve the one that doesn’t like Zinfandel? I can’t remember.

  2. Karolina permalink
    November 11, 2011 2:46 pm

    That looks incredible and perfect for a rainy weekend in SF! I will be trying this one out. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Hallie permalink
    November 11, 2011 4:50 pm

    We both love Zins- will try that, thanks!

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