Hey, look, I didn’t post for a month. I promise you I was making good use of my time with finals, and then holidays and a close relative in the hospital. The past few weeks have been an absolute whirlwind, and I’m just starting to feel like I can finally relax. It’s a false feeling because in a few days my job search for the summer will kick into high gear and I’ll be juggling time between phone calls and trips to the city to meet people. But, for now I am going to enjoy the momentary peace.
And write you all a blog post.
When my life is hectic, I come to enjoy the simple parts of my day more. I love the few moments of silence in the morning when I’m still in bed and I can hear all the commotion downstairs. No one knows I’m awake yet. and I usually read a few pages of whatever book I’m reading before trudging downstairs. Those few moments are my favorite part of the day.
In times of chaos, I also appreciate a good meal. There are certain foods for me that I find immediately soothing, and stew is one of them. I think it’s the warmth and the heartiness. Succulent beef paired with tender carrots and potatoes – all of it smothered in a rich brown gravy. Just the thought of it makes me happy.
I used to make my beef stew with herbed dumplings a fair amount during school, but then I discovered this guinness beef stew, and I’ve been converted. The flavor here is more complex, and the end result heartier. It only uses half a cup of beer, but it really changes the flavor profile. If you don’t have Guinness you can make this with Coca Cola – just omit the two tablespoons of brown sugar.
Beef and Guinness Stew for Kids
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 pounds chuck steak, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 14-oz can chicken broth, more if necessary
1/2 cup Guinness (or Coca Cola)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp ground sage
Juice of 1 lemon
6 yukon potatoes
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley
2 tbsp brown sugar (omit if using Coca Cola)
Heat the oil in a large dutch oven. Add the meat and brown on all sides. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, scraping up the browned bits. When the onion is cooked, add the flour and mix until combined. Pour in the broth and Guinness and bring to a boil. Add the meat and accumulated juices back into the dutch oven and put in the lemon juice, tomato paste, sage, salt and pepper. Reduce to a simmer and let it cook for 1 1/2 hours.
Add the potatoes, carrots, parsley and brown sugar. Simmer for another hour, checking fairly often to add more broth when necessary. You likely will have to add more liquid, so do not be concerned if it is looking dry – just add more broth and let it continue to simmer.
Source: Harry Potter Cookbook