Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Jools' Favorite Beef Stew & Mine Too!

During these sad months of longing for dinosaur kale I have turned to another vegetable.


They don't compare to kale, but they're keeping me busy, happy, and quite full.

I've never really thought about parsnips. They've gotten lost in a family of other, more-popular root veggies: the baby carrots and the robust red bliss potatoes. But parsnips shouldn't be ignored. They're sweet sourness adds so many layers to simple dishes like roasted vegetables or more complex (flavor-wise) dishes such as Zinfandel Braised Short Ribs.

After making the absolutely-heavenly-so-easy-to-make-cook-them-tomorrow Short Ribs for friends on Saturday night I had a few parsnips leftover, and, of course, I turned to Jamie Oliver to see what recipes he had to ensure I use them wisely.

I came across Jools' Favorite Beef Stew in Jamie's Dinners. I was excited by how easy the recipe is but I was reluctant to make it. Beef stews, in my experiences, are pretty boring. I've tried countless stew recipes, but they always seem to turn out the same--edible but not memorable, a conglomeration of lack-luster tomato and beef. I had a feeling I'd like my mate Jamie's, though; he adds one whole bottle of red wine. I'm a sucker for red wine.

This was by far one of the best beef stews I have ever eaten. The flavors stood out. From the parsnips to the butternut squash to the lemon zest (a necessary step; do NOT skip). This stew partied on my palate and settled quite nicely in my tummy. I served it over some leftover mashed parsnips and potatoes, which was divine.

I did do something a little different from Jamie. I softened the onions and sage with a bit of garlic too. I didn't flour the beef cubes; I just browned them for a few minutes before adding all the veggies, wine, and broth. I brought all that to boil and dumped it into a Crock Pot. I let the Crock Pot cool, set in the fridge overnight, and put it in its cradle before heading to work the next morning. After being on Low for 8 hours, we came home a delightful little but hearty meal.

Leave it to Jamie for yet another success.

You know if Julie Powell hadn't done the whole Julie / Julia Project, I would totally do a Jamie / Amanda project. Or sacrifice my dignity for the sake of sounding catchier and rename it The Mandie / Jamie Project.

Even writing Mandie makes me cringe.

Alas, no worries, since that's been done before. I just need to find my own little niche. Or at least get on one of Jamie's shows...

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