owl in winter

owl in winter

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Listening to the wind blow...

So, hey, it was a white Christmas in southwest Missouri this year. After returning from our disastrous journey to Mountain Grove on Christmas Eve, I dropped into bed and listened to the wind howl outside my window for hours before falling asleep. I remember hearing that sound every night of my life in Minnesota and I could imagine myself back there, huddled underneath heaps of quilts in my little blue bedroom with the two windows that faced north. Sitting here, right now, today at 1:26 p.m., Sunday, December 27th, I am listening to my wind chimes on the front porch, being bouyed and smashed together by the wind...It may be freezing out there but it is toasty in here.
This is what we have to chase the chill today.
Beef Stew
1 1/2 - 2 lbs. top round steak, cut into cubes
1 c. flour
2 teas. salt
1/4 teas. pepper
thyme, to taste
Combine the flour, salt, pepper and thyme in a gallon sealable plastic bag. Drop the meat cubes in and shake to coat. Heat a couple tablespoons olive oil in dutch oven or soup pot. Drop meat cubes in, reserving flour mixture, and brown well.
Beef stock
Carrots, chopped
Onions, quartered
Cabbage, quartered
Celery, chopped
1 Bay leaf
1 8 0z. can tomato sauce
Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
Salt and pepper
Pour 2 - 2 1/2 cups beef stock into the pot with the meat. Since you've seasoned your flour mixture and since beef stock will have salt in it, there is really no need to add more (I know, sounds like I'm violating my principal rule of seasoning the layers, but I'm really not, this time). Throw in a bay leaf, maybe a little more pepper and thyme. Let that cook while you are getting your vegetables ready - the amounts are subjective, whatever you like. Drop vegetables in, pour tomato sauce over and stir. Cover, bring to boil and then turn down to simmer for about 2 hours. Stir in reserved flour mixture until soup thickens. Season to taste.
Sometimes, I will pour maybe a quarter cup red wine in while everything is simmering but if you don't drink, you don't have to put it in. It just adds another depth of flavor, in my opinion. About the wine, just make sure it is a wine you would want to drink so don't dump one of the cheapos in. A burgundy or pinot noir generally works real well.
Also, I know you can buy beef stew meat pre-cubed but I had a bad experience with that once and have not bought it since. Besides, I find it too fatty and not as flavorful as I would like so I prefer top round to anything else.
Well, I plan on sitting here, next to the fire, with a steaming bowl of beef stew, listening to the wind blow for awhile. Have a wonderful Sunday and I will see you on Sunday Musings very soon!

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