Sunday, February 22, 2009

Italian Beef Stew with Salsa Verde

In light of things being crazy lately, I haven't spent much time at all cooking or going out and buying expensive ingredients. I've been scared into sitting at home and having frugal salads and noodles... well almost. Last week we were in Portland and had our ritualistic brewpub tour, that sort of made my belly feel all icky and the feeling has lasted till now. So basically I'm feeling both very mentally strained (just from the news, work and life in general) and physically unfit (from too much beer!). Which is just as well, since Oregon might be raising their beer taxes to $0.15 a pint.

I decided tonight that we were going to have the farcical Academy Awards on in the background and cuddle with a good bowl of beef stew, embracing the last days of winter. I can't bloody wait for the dreariness to be over and usher in spring with some darn good asparagus! My predictions for tonight: Everything that everyone predicted will win will win. It's the Academy Awards, it's all about predictability, studio money and bad hairstyles.

This is a recipe I am very proud of, which I perfected off a general Italian beef stew recipe. It's one the best beef stews (in my opinion) that you will ever have and topped with Italian Salsa Verde - which differs from the more famous Mexican one in that it has no tomatillos or jalapenos - is a wonderful meal to have when the outside world is all troubled and all you want is to find a little comfort in the food you eat.

Italian Beef Stew
Serves 4

1 lb beef chuck or stewing beef, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 medium carrots, roughly chopped into 1 inch portions
3 ribs celery, roughly chopped into 1 inch portions
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 new potatoes, whole or 4 medium sized potatoes, quartered
1 can (14.5oz) organic, low-sodium diced tomatoes
4 cups low sodium beef stock
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried parsley
3 sprigs fresh thyme or 2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Salt to taste
Olive oil

Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a dutch oven or stainless steel soup pot. Brown the beef evenly, about 4 minutes on each side.

Add in the onions, carrots and celery into pot and saute the aromatics until fragrant, about 7 minutes - the onions should be translucent.

Turn up the heat and add in the garlic and canned tomatoes. Stir for 2 -3 minutes and add in the beef stock, red wine and herbs. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for an hour.

Add in the potatoes and simmer for an additional hour until the beef and potatoes are tender and the soup has thickened into a stew-like consistency. For a tastier stew, let the cooled stew sit overnight in the fridge. Reheat the stew the next day and serve over crusty bread and topped with a dollop of the salsa verde.

Italian Salsa
1 1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced finely
1 medium shallot, minced finely
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
Pinch of salt

Combine the parsley, garlic and shallots in a bowl. Add in the vinegar, capers, red chili flakes and salt and stir gently to combine. Drizzle in the olive oil and let salsa verde steep for 1/2 an hour at room temperature.


Iris313 said...

Wow, that sounds yummy! It has been cold and rainy here for days, and the rest of the week is promising similar weather. As my fridge is empty, I'm buying the fixings for this tomorrow. I can't wait! Comfort food and rainy days - does it get better than that? Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of a fusion beef stew. Nice!

Anonymous said...

Now this is good eats. Perfect for today's gray, chilly day.

Anonymous said...

That looks delicious! The days are still quite warm here, but I definitely want to try this recipe when we start heading into winter - it looks like a nice bowl to curl up in front of the TV with!

Iris313 said...

Holy mackeral, is all I can say. I made this for dinner ... the only change I made was the roast was somewhat larger than the recipe called for. This is good... no .. this is TERRIFIC. I asked my husband 3 or 4 times if he liked it... he was so busy eating, he couldn't answer me! After I got a few bites, I realized he was just too distracted to talk. (laugh) Thanks so much for this recipe. It is absolutely a keeper.

Amanda said...

Iris313: Thank you so much for your comment, it makes me feel really really happy when people like my recipes - especially ones that I hold dear. I hope you tried it with the Salsa Verde because that's the best part of it!

test it comm said...

That stew looks good! I like the use of the salsa verde.

stephchows said...

This looks so delicious and hearty! What a perfect dinner for a cold night!

Anonymous said...

Ooo this recipe looks great for my local eating challenge! I can get all of those things locally even in the dead of winter. I love salsa verde and the italian version looks great. I'll be trying this next weekend, thanks!

Anonymous said...

How many ounces is the can of diced organic tomatoes. I want to prepare this tonight and I am unsure.

Amanda said...

Anonymous@11:40 AM

I used Muir Glen's No Salt Added Diced Tomatoes, 14.5oz. Let me know how it turns out!

Anonymous said...

I will, thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

This was by far the best beef stew I have ever made. Thanks. BTW i used venison in lieu of beef.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mysterymEEAT said...

Wow, I'm glad I found this! It looks perfect.
Although I think I'm going to leave out the potatoes and serve it over crisped polenta shards.
Definitely going to include that nice salsa though.