TAKE A STEP BACK
LOOK AT THE BIGGER PICTURE
This is for sure a time of reflection, memories and a time when we moved a little slower. Dusting off books and cleaning as most of us are doing now I frequently stop and go down memory lane. Especially with some of my favorite cook books, wishing I was back in time cooking and entertaining with my family and friends. The other day I was asked for one of my go-to Sunday recipes. Beef stew resonated which is a staple in so many cultures. As a child from Ireland, I became so familiar with my mom’s slow cooked Irish stew. I must say I never really liked meat, however, the smell in the kitchen was always so comforting. By the age of 13, I started to turn away from meat as it just was not really something I enjoyed or craved. I so loved the side dishes which always consisted of potatoes and some lovely vegetable. Years later, after marrying a meat eater, I decided why not cook meat for him and then later my two sons. I always figured away to make vegetarian version of whatever dish I was preparing. I love cooking, bringing together family and friends around the dining room table. This is a tradition that has been around for centuries and today we are finding ourselves appreciating much more the rewards eating together at home creates being confined in our homes due the virus. Today, as we face some of the most challenging times in our life, we must accept what we cannot change. We need to find the beauty in the simple treasures life has to offer. Connecting with family, friends, meditation, prayer and staying calm is so key. It is a time to reflect on the beauty and simple joy life has to offer.
Make peace with what is happening and remember to do something nice for someone everyday. This could be as simple as a phone call, write a note or acknowledge someone walking by, especially, the elderly.
The most important detail about this recipe is that it takes about 4 hours. This is a very traditional preparation for a family Sunday meal in most countries.
2 slices of thick bacon roughly chopped
3 lbs beef brisket, trimmed of fat (stewing beef) and cut into 2” chunks
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 large white onion sliced thinly
6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups red wine
2-3 cups stock – beef, chicken or vegetable
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
1 pound fresh mushrooms…shiitake or cremini – sliced
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350F
Heat 1 tablespoons of olive oil in a dutch oven.
Sauté bacon over medium heat for about 4 minutes until crisp and browned. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate over a paper towel.
Pat beef dry with a paper towel. Sear in batches till brown in the hot bacon fat. Add a little oil as needed if it dries out.
Brown on all sides and place in dish with bacon.
In the dutch oven, sauté the carrots and onions for approximately 3 minutes.
Then add the garlic and cook for a minute. Stir in the bacon and beef, season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Sprinkle with flour and toss well.
Cook for 4-5 minutes to brown.
Add the wine and enough stock to cover so the meat is not fully covered.
Add the tomato paste and herbs. Bring to a simmer for a few minutes.
Cover and transfer to the middle part of the oven and cook for about 3-4 hours until the meat falls apart.
During this time you can prepare the mushrooms. Heat butter in a medium skillet.
Add the mushrooms and sauté for about 5 minutes stirring frequently. Once they are browned, set aside.
Remove dutch oven when ready and stir in mushrooms.
Taste for seasoning, add salt and pepper if needed.
This is even better the next day!
I separated this in individual containers, added some boiled potatoes and froze them for my son Ryan!