A number of weeks in the past, because the temperature decreased and my pandemic fatigue elevated, I did one thing I hadn’t accomplished in years: I simmered up a homey beef stew.
I’d forgotten all about beef stew, seduced by the likes of wine-braised short ribs and fancy Bourguignon. However whereas braises and Bourguignons could also be extra impressively company-worthy than stew, they’re not apropos to our present nationwide temper — or my private one, a minimum of.
Way more in sync with the second is a pot effervescent slowly on the range, its stomach loaded with tender chunks of beef, nuggets of carrots and slivers of onions and herbs. The ensuing dish is as cozy as my favourite moth-eaten thrift retailer sweater, a brown cashmere turtleneck I throw on at any time when I would like my clothes to really feel like a heat blanket. A savory beef stew, plopped on prime of buttery mashed potatoes (or polenta, noodles or rice), is soothing like that.
You don’t want particular elements to make a superb stew, although selfmade inventory is at all times going to make issues style higher than most of its packaged counterparts. My default is selfmade hen inventory, which I take advantage of even in beef dishes as a result of it’s what I are likely to have readily available. Given the selection, I’d even go for selfmade vegetable inventory over store-bought beef inventory right here. This mentioned, in case your freezer is stockless, simply use what’s simple to come back by. Beef stews are as forgiving as they’re satisfying.
I additionally name for pouring some ale or beer into stew pot, and also you don’t have to be specific. No matter you prefer to drink will work, together with nonalcoholic manufacturers.
The ale serves two capabilities: In addition to brightening the sauce, it tempers the sweetness of the pink onions and carrots nestled in with the meat, and retains the dish from changing into cloying.
Floor spices — coriander and allspice — add an earthy complexity, and a ruddy blob of tomato paste deepens all of the flavors in its umami-intensifying approach.
Like most stews (and braises and Bourguignons, for that matter), this one improves because it sits. Leftovers shall be even tastier and simply as comforting because the dish was on Day 1 — with out your having to cook dinner one other meal. It could not eradicate your pandemic fatigue, nevertheless it will provide you with extra time to wrap your self in your favourite sweater and sink into the sofa, which is rarely a foul factor, particularly now.