Sunday, July 11, 2010

Beef Stew and Savory Bread Pudding

I made these in January. Perfect for cold weather.

For Beef Stew:

This recipe is adapted from The Joy of Cooking and Cooks Illustrated.

se a good-quality, medium-bodied wine, such as Pinot Noir, for this stew. Try to find beef that is well marbled with white veins of fat. Meat that is too lean will come out slightly dry.


2 medium garlic cloves , minced

1 boneless beef chuck-eye roast (about 4 pounds), trimmed of excess fat, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 large onion , halved and cut from pole to pole into 1/8-inch-thick slices (about 2 cups)

4 medium carrots , peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups)

1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

2 cups red wine (see note)

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 bay leaves

4 sprigs fresh thyme

4 ounces salt pork or bacon

1 pound Yukon gold potatoes , scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 pound turnips, halved

Table salt and ground black pepper


1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Add garlic to a small bowl; press with back of fork to form paste.

2. Pat meat dry with paper towels. Do not season. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over high heat until just starting to smoke. Add bacon or salt pork and cook. Remove from pot. Toss beef cubes with flour. Add half of beef and cook until well browned on all sides, about 8 minutes total, reducing heat if oil begins to smoke or fond begins to burn. Transfer beef to large plate. Repeat with remaining beef and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, leaving second batch of meat in pot after browning.

3. Reduce heat to medium and return first batch of beef to pot. Add onion and carrots to Dutch oven and stir to combine with beef. Cook, scraping bottom of pan to loosen any browned bits, until onion is softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add garlic mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until no dry flour remains, about 30 seconds.

4. Remove contents in pot.

5. Slowly add wine, scraping bottom of pan to loosen any browned bits. Increase heat to high and allow wine to simmer until thickened and slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Stir in broth, bay leaves, thyme, and meat with veggies. Bring to simmer, cover, transfer to oven, and cook for about 2 hours.

5. Remove pot from oven; remove and discard bay leaves and salt pork. Stir in potatoes and turnips, cover, return to oven, and cook until veggies are almost tender, about 45 minutes.

6. Using large spoon, skim any excess fat from surface of stew.

Season with salt and pepper and serve.

For Savory Bread Pudding

This recipe is adapted from Mycopia Mushroom Company in Sebastopol California.


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

8 ounces mushrooms, any variety. I used brown clamshell, royal trumpet, crimini, and maitake frondosa

3 tablespoons shallot, chopped

2 sprigs of green onion, chopped

1 teaspoon Worcestershire

4 large eggs

3/4 cup milk

3/4 cup cream

1 ½ cups cheese, grated or chopped. I used sharp american cheddar and Irish Dubliner cheddar

4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only

3 ½ cups bread, cubed. Day old is recommended.

I also added assorted seasonings of garlic powder, onion powder, and various dried green herbs.

And of course, salt and pepper to taste.

Table salt and ground black pepper


1. Roughly chop the mushrooms. Saute the shallots, green onion, and mushrooms in olive oil.

2. Whisk together remaining ingredients expect the cubed bread.

3. Fold together cheese and egg mixture. Let stand at least 15 minutes.

4. Pour into 8” by 8” pan and bake at 350° F, Mark 4, or 180° C. Bake for about 45 minutes.

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