It's about time things got back to normal around here, whatever the hell that is... Here's what's for dinner tonight -
This pretty much follows the recipe that was published in the December 2010 edition of Martha Stewart Living, with a few slight alterations. Why, yes, I do read Martha Stewart Living... bite me...
1.5 lb stew beef (the original recipe calls for bone-in short ribs, but six dollars a pound was a bit much to bear).
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons unbleached flour (again, the original called for cornstarch. I hate cornstarch).
3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
8 oz. baby white button mushrooms, quartered (I left the really tiny ones whole).
3 carrots; 2 finely chopped and 1 cut into 3/4 inch cubes.
3 shallots, minced.
3 celery stalks, roughly chopped (I added one extra to the recipe, I love celery).
2 strips of bacon, thinly sliced crosswise.
1 tbs tomato paste.
2 springs thyme.
2 bay leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary (I added this to the recipe).
1 cup or so of dry red wine.
8 cups no salt beef broth.
1 cup water (original called for two, didn't think it would all fit in the pot).
Before starting, be sure to arm yourself with the essentials for cooking...
1. Season the meat with salt, pepper and coat with flour. Heat oil, brown the meat on all sides, then remove to a plate.
2. Add mushrooms to pot, cook until brown, then transfer to a bowl with cubed carrots.
3. Add shallots, celery, bacon and chopped carrots to pot, cook until they carmelize, then stir in tomato paste.
4. Add meat and juices from the plate to pot, along with thyme, bay leaves and rosemary. Turn heat up to high, add the wine and cook until slightly reduced, scraping the good stuff from the bottom of the pot.
5. Add stock and water, bring to a boil and simmer, loosely covered until the meat is tender.
6. Add the mushrooms and cubed carrots and simmer again, loosely covered until the carrots are tender.
While that's simmering away, lets prep some Horseradish Chive Bread:
1. Mash 1 stick of room temperature unsalted butter in a bowl with about 2 tbs chopped chives, 2 tbs prepared horseradish and some coarse salt.
2. Slice some French bread almost all the way through and fill the cuts with the butter mixture.
3. Wrap in aluminum foil and hold in the fridge until you're ready to eat.
I'm going to let the soup sit in the fridge until tomorrow night (mostly because there's no one here but me and cats tonight until late, and it will probably taste better after is sits a day, anyway).
Reheat soup. While that's going on, heat the oven to 375F for the bread and boil up some wide egg noodles. Throw the bread into the oven for about 15 minutes or so. Put some egg noodles in a bowl, ladle in some soup and rip off a hunk of that bread.
Should go nice with a little Merlot.