Beef Stew with Sherry and Mushrooms

Ice-pocalypse. Ice-mageddon 2013. Call it what you want, but it got cold here in the DFW this past weekend.

Ice-pocalypse. Ice-mageddon 2013. Call it what you want, but it got cold here in the DFW this past weekend.

     For those of you outside of the DFW area, if you saw the news, you saw that we got hit pretty bad this past weekend. Not as bad as some areas of the country that get it every year on a weekly basis, like Colorado or Wyoming or the North Atlantic Coast. But this is Texas y’all. We don’t see this but once or twice a year and when it does happen, it is like the end of the world.

     It started sleeting before 3 PM on Thursday and quickly dipped below freezing (for what would end up being 72 hours and 45 minutes if my memory serves correctly). Schools and businesses shut down. There was a mad rush on grocery stores, hardware stores and liquor stores. As if we couldn’t survive being shut in our houses for a few days. Seriously?

     That being said, I found myself in the mob of people at the grocery store Thursday fighting for the necessary staples to make it through the weekend and eyeing the shelves in wonder as they emptied right in front of me. I was armed with a list provided by my lovely wife for soups and a stew to keep us warm throughout the storm and I was going to get everything on that list by golly!! (which I mostly did)

Mrs. G's stew

Mrs. G’s stew

     Some have said that there might be something wrong with me. And I would probably have to agree. I have to confess something. I HATE STEW!! Always have and thought I always would. I refused to eat it growing up as a kid much to my mother’s chagrin. When we went off to camp every summer and it was stew night at the cafeteria, I wouldn’t eat a bite. Somewhere in college, I developed an appreciation of Guiness and I thought if I liked Guiness, I might like Guiness stew. Made a big ole pot of it one night, took a bite and ended up going to Whataburger. And it’s been so long since I’ve tried it, I can’t quite recall if it was the taste. Or the texture. Or a combination of both. It’s not the smell as I think it smells great while cooking.

     So when Mrs. G mentioned that she wanted to make a stew a few weeks ago, I was less than enthusiastic. I warned her of my disdain for the dish and told her not to take it personally if I didn’t like it and wouldn’t end up finishing it. Being forewarned, she went ahead and made some and told me to keep an open mind.

      I must say, I am glad that she did. I may not like traditional stews, but this is one I will eat and sop up every last drop in the bowl with a piece of bread. Which I have done a few times since she first made it, including this past weekend during the Ice-pocalypse. 

     Let me tell you, that there is nobody more surprised (well, maybe my parents) that a recipe for stew is making an appearance on my blog, but this one is so good, I just had to share it.

Most of the necessary ingredients

Most of the necessary ingredients

 Above you will see most of the ingredients used in this stew. The beef broth and flour are missing, but I think everything else is there.

Our choice of meat

Our choice of meat

     The first time my wife made the stew, she used stew meat. It was good, but honestly was a bit dry and not the most tender. I was instructed to procure a chuck roast for this batch and while I’m pretty sure positive that is what I was looking at in the store. Somehow, when trying to find one as close to the required three pounds, I picked up this hunk o’ beef instead. I’m no butcher and no expert on what a chuck top blade steak boneless is, but I do know that it comes from the same area of the cow (shoulder). Pretty sure, anyway.

Cubed and carmelizing up

Cubed and carmelizing up

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil ???
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 3 lbs of chuck roast (cubed) or  stew meat
  • 4 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 large carrots, roughly chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 yellow onions, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 1/2 cup sherry
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley  
  • 1 bag petit frozen peas
  • Large egg noodles, for serving
Adding the beef broth

Adding the beef broth

Directions

  1. In a large cast iron skillet, over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and bacon. When the bacon begins to lightly brown, remove it from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside. When cool, chop the bacon into 1/4-inch pieces.
  2. Add the beef and let the meat brown on all sides, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. In a large pot, add the mushrooms, carrots, garlic, onions and bacon. Mix in the flour and stir well.
  4. Add the beef stock, sherry, bay leaves and beef. Add salt and pepper.
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Cover the pot but leave it slightly cracked for the steam to escape. Cook for about 2 hours or until the meat is tender.
  6. When the meat is tender, slowly stir in the heavy cream, parsley and peas.
  7. Serve the stew in shallow bowls over egg noodles.
When the meat is tender, add in the cream, parsley and peas.

When the meat is tender, add in the heavy cream, parsley and peas.

     If you are gonna have stew, you need some nice warm, hearty bread to sop up all those juices. Lately we’ve been using the Master recipe from The New Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. So simple and easy and we’ve gotten great results every time. Watch their YouTube video if you are interested. I may or may not do a post on it later. Haven’t quite decided yet.

Artisan bread in 5 minutes a day. No kneading required. Just mix the ingredients and store in the refrigerator until wanted. Will hold up to two weeks.

Artisan bread in 5 minutes a day. No kneading required. Just mix the ingredients and store in the refrigerator until wanted. Will hold up to two weeks.

     I never thought I would say it, but this is one stew recipe that I love. I think it has something to do with the cream and the sherry. Quite possibly the addition of bacon.

A rustic dinner is served.

A rustic dinner is served.

     I’ll say it again…I HATE STEW!! But not this one. I absolutely love this stew and I don’t mind if Mrs. G makes it over and over again this winter. Maybe its the cream. Maybe its the sherry. Maybe its both, but I adore it. So if you are like me and hate stew, or are just looking for a new take on an old classic, try this one out and don’t forget to let me know what you think.

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