It’s a heinous but true story that when we first got together, Monica pretended she couldn’t cook. She claims, (Then and now), that coming upon a man who loved to cook and did so “Better than I ever could,” (Total BS, BTW), led to her fib. She got away with it for the better part of a year, the little rat…
One of the many things she does far better than I do is genuine stew, the real article, the full meal deal. That said, I wish to formally protest her statement that what I make is “Real good soup;” it’s stew dangit, just made kinda differently than hers!
Anyway, since last week we cleaned out the freezer, I promised that I’d share her killer stew recipe, so here it is.
She made this with beef that needed to be used, but as mentioned on The Big Wild the other day, this makes a great Game Bag Stew – Use venison, pork pheasant, goose, duck, whatever ya got, or a combination thereof – Yes it does work, so try it, whenever you want people to eat it and then give you that look and make helpless yummy noises until they get up for seconds. Equal portions of the proteins are fine, or place heavier emphasis on one or two if that’s what you got and that’s what you like.
M’s True Stew
This is a gorgeous peasant stew, rich and flavorful!
Cube up your proteins to reasonable bite size pieces
Mix 1/2 cup flour, a teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and a shake of cayenne in a zip lock bag. Dump in your flesh and shake thoroughly to coat. Heat a nice big pan to medium high with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil until almost smoking hot, then toss in your flesh and brown thoroughly.
NOTE: Real observant readers will have noted that M used Grains of Paradise; also known as melegueta pepper, alligator pepper, Guinea grains or Guinea pepper, this pungent spice is to regular pepper as table salt is to Sal de Mer, so check it out…
Remove your flesh, place it in a skillet and into a 225º F oven. Allow the meat to cook low and slow for at least 2 hours. When fork tender, remove from the heat and set aside. Put 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, a shake of cayenne and a shot of oil into a bag and throw in your spuds. Shake until thoroughly coated and throw them into the oven next to the meat for 45 minutes.
Returning to your nice big pot, turn the heat back up to medium high and once heated, deglaze with 1 cup of red wine.
Turn heat down to low, scrape all the naughty bits together with the wine, and simmer until reduced by half.
While that’s working, clean and size as desired pearl onions, carrots, green beans, celery, green cabbage, parsley and one nice fat orange.
Transfer your wine and nasty bits reduction to a stock pot and add 2 cups of stock, (Really up to you; we use dark chicken stock the most, but beef, veggie or chicken is fine too!) and two cups of water, and bring up to just below a rolling boil. Throw everybody into the pool, reduce the heat to a simmer and let it work its magic for at least 4 hours and longer as you can stand.
We added this killer cheesy cornbread to our feast.
1 1/2 Cups White Corn Meal
1/2 Cup All purpose flour
1 Cup Whole Milk
4 Tablespoons Shortening
Pinch of Salt
1/2 Cup grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Pour cornmeal into a bowl and add the milk; mix well and allow to sit for 15 minutes.
Mix remaining dry ingredients, (Including the cheese), in a large bowl.
Melt shortening, then combine all ingredients and mix by hand to a nice, even batter consistency.
Place the pan(s) you’ll do the bread in into a 400 oven, with a small dot of shortening in each pan, or tablespoon full if using a single pan. When the shortening is melted and sizzling, remove the pan , pour in the batter and return to the oven.
Bake at 450 for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve hot!
E & M