Saturday, May 19, 2012

Beef and vegetables stew

I've been busy. Well, I'm in a tired state majority of the time as I havn't been having enough sleep for quite a while.

The weather lately has been erratic, considering that Singapore is (or is it still?) a tropical country with a hot and humid climate - especially in the mid-year months where it should be summer. However, I feel that there has been more than the usual expected rainfall as compared to the past years. Global warming?

One of those weekends when it was raining, it so happened that I was making some beef and vegetables stew. Such perfect weather to enjoy the hot stew.

 Beef and vegetables stew

Risotto balls

The smell of the stew on the stovetop was so aromatic, probably due to the red wine that I had added into it. It made the whole house smelled so heavenly. I made an error by mistaking the amount of Worcestershire sauce for the recipe. It only required two tsp, but I added two tbsp. Whoops - thus it was a little too salty.   

I served the stew alongside some arancini (recipe > here) that I had in the freezer cos I wanted to clear out some freezer space. On hindsight, I should have served it together with some rice, or bread, to mop up the stew gravy. Well, I had leftovers, so the next day, I diluted it with a little water to make it a little less salty, and made some buttered couscous and brought it to work for lunch. (It was a delicious pairing!)

Big news update: The Sis's ice cream shop is finally up! I'm really happy and proud of her as it's her big baby project. The ice cream shop is not the usual ice cream cafe, it is a mixture of her two favourites - ice cream and traveling, thus it's sort of like an ice cream boutique travel themed cafe. The shop name is NeLi's Ice Cream, and it is at 233 Upper Thomson Road. Facebook page > here. We're still decorating the place, so no photos of the shop at the moment cos I want to take photos when everything is in place! Do keep a look out for photos on my blog when all the decor is up! Please do come and show some support. :)

Beef and vegetables stew (adapted from here)
750 - 900g beef chunks (depends on how much meat you like in your stew, you can add more veg for a higher veg to meat ratio)
corn flour
olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped into large chunks
2 carrots, peeled and chopped into large chunks
4 stalks celery, chopped into large chunks
4 garlic, smashed
250ml red wine
1 can chicken stock (can use beef stock for more flavour, just that I don't keep it on hand)
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp mixed dried herbs (or some dried/fresh thyme if possible - which I did not have on hand)

Pat the meat dry thoroughly. Coat with flour. Add some olive oil to a large pot, and working in batches, brown the meat evenly. You don't have to cook it too long cos you'll be slow cooking it later anyway, you just want it to have a browned exterior. Set aside.
Throw in the vegetables (onions, celery, carrots) into the used pot. Cook for a few minutes till onions are soft, add the garlic and stir to mix.
Add the red wine and chicken stock. Use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan to get up any brown bits left over from cooking the beef and vegetables. Add the reserved beef, herbs, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, beef stock and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir then cover with lid and cook over stove top on low heat for an hour.
Taste for seasoning and add salt/pepper as needed then cover again and cook another 30 minutes to an hour (I cooked mine for two to two and half hours) or until the beef is tender and can easily be pulled apart with a fork.
Serve hot with some rice or lightly toasted bread.

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