Friday, November 22, 2013

Cozy Supper for Our First Night Home

Due to Jeannene's super new job, we have relocated to a lovely home called Butternut Hall in Southeastern Michigan. She started a little over a month ago and loves it, but has been living in the Days Inn this whole time while I finished my time pastoring in Dayton and got our Columbus household ready to be moved. Over the last several weeks, we have both been subsisting largely on restaurant meals and easy meals at home (whatever home has meant for each of us) that don't require much/any cooking. 

Jeannene was away for work the first several days of our Butternut Hall life. Last night, I went to fetch her from the Detroit airport. It would be her first real home-cooked meal in over a month, so I wanted it really to taste (& smell!) like coming home. I opted for an old-fashioned beef stew and our favorite salad, Robyn's Tuscan Kale Salad, which I have posted previously. I even baked a cheater dessert, those break-and-bake chocolate chunk cookies. I'd rather do homemade, but most of my kitchen is in boxes and the rest in shambles right now. The stew was delicious on a drizzly November night and the house smelled marvelous when we stepped inside. I hope you have more room in your kitchen than I did, and don't have to rest your cutting board and cookie sheets across the sink, but even if you have a tiny bit of space, this meal is doable!

Homecoming Beef Stew
2 lb. boneless beef chuck steak, fat    trimmed, cut into largish chunks
1/2 c. flour
Salt & pepper
3 tbsp. butter
1 onion, chopped
24 oz. beer*
1 lb. tiny red potatoes, halved (you could dice regular-sized ones, too)
3 carrots, peeled and cut in very thick rounds
1 turnip, peeled and cut into large dice
(I would have also added a large parsnip, but the delivery did not arrive at the grocery, so I was out of luck there. You should add one, though, peeled and cut like the carrot.)

Dredge the beef, in batches, in the flour, seasoned with salt and pepper. In your favorite stew pot, melt the butter on medium-high heat. You can use olive oil, instead, if you like. Brown the meat on all sides, which will take about 10 minutes. Add the onion and cook until softened. Add the beer and deglaze, scraping the bottom of the pan to get all the crispy bits incorporated. Add the vegetables. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer 2 and a half to 3 hours, stirring every now and again, until everything is very tender. Serves 4-6.

* I used a Tecate and a Dieselpunk IPA because that's what was on hand. Use whatever you like, but I don't recommend light beer in stew, ever. I toyed with using some hard cider and may very well do that next time. 

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