Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Jordan Ett's State Fair Drunken Beef Stew
Keeping with the theme of drunken food I am doing this particular recipe for my nephew Jordan. He loves to cook and is always busy. This dish is ideal in a slow cooker. In the photo Linnea is on the left with Jordan in the Center and I am on the right. My big visit of the year typically involves the Minnesota State Fair. I freely admit that there is very little about the State of Minnesota that I like (Other than my relatives)but I do love the State Fair. The spectacle of deep fried 'everything' on a stick is endlessly amusing, but I really love the animals, baked goods and crafts. This fair really is for the Farmers and it is a great way for us city folk to connect with the wonderful men and women who feed us. I have an enormous appreciation for the small farmers who manage to hang on despite the odds. If you have a farmers market or green market near you shop there.
On a related note...Beef; what is typically sold in the grocery stores is of very poor quality, filled with antibiotics and grain fed. Grain fed beef should always be avoided. Feeding cattle grain is horrible for their digestion and they must be given huge quantity of antibiotics to tolerate grain. In addition it destroys the balance of the Omega3 and Omega6 fatty acids and makes the beef difficult to digest and unhealthy to eat. Even the beef sold by Whole Foods (whole paycheck) as grass fed is grain finished to fatten it up and therefore very unhealthy. Talk to the Farmers in your area and see who has grass fed and finished beef and order from them. The taste will amaze you with it's natural richness and you will be doing something good for yourselves and the planet.
A little Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 veal knuckle bones
2 lbs beef stew meat (try to find some that has marbling, fat adds flavor)
5 large onions peeled and chopped into large chunks
20 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
1 lb. baby carrots
1 cut chopped celery with leaves
4 cups chopped spinach
1 bottle of beer (dark is good)
3 cups beef broth (Rachel Ray lies, canned never gives it the 'cooked all day' taste, but since you are cooking it all day anyway go ahead if you have no homemade stock on hand)
1/4 cup sweet Paprika
A little sour cream for garnish
Get the crock pot out of the cupboard, plug it in and set on the counter. Dry the beef if it is damp and liberally salt and pepper. Cut into smaller pieces if they come larger than bit sized. Put a little oil in a heavy bottomed pan and brown in the hot oil, along with the veal bones. Stir them around and let them get kind of crusty. The more brown the more flavor. When ready dump in crock pot.
Put your onion in the hot pan and the moisture from the onion will begin to deglaze the pan, when they begin to brown add in the garlic and continue for a few minutes until the garlic has softened. Dump on the meat.
Put in a touch more oil and throw in all the veggies except the spinach, par cook them for about 10 minutes. Remove, cover and refrigerate.
Pour the beer in the hot pot and make sure you stir in every bit of brown clingy stuff when pot is fully deglazed dump beer on beef. Stir in the paprika.Add the stock. The beef should be fully submerged but not drowning. Put on the lid, turn on high and go take a shower, get ready to go to the Fair.
When your Father starts telling you to get your shoes on since it is time to leave turn the crock down to low, tie your shoes (if you wear sandals put some sunscreen on the top of your feet, you know how easily you burn)
When you get home take the veal bones out of the pot and add in the vegetables, turn back on high and give a good stir. Go tell your Mother about how much fun you had and how you REALLY are old enough for the haunted house now and promise not to have nightmares. Taste the stew and add salt if needed.
Put some water on to boil for a few noodles. When the noodles are cooked plate them and dump a good serving of stew on each plate, top with a dollop of sour cream. Have your sister get Daddy a beer and Mama and Uncle Karl a glass of red wine. Sit down and enjoy.
I'll put the leftovers away and it will be even better tomorrow for lunch.