Monday, October 29, 2007

sunday supper: battle wine

J-Cat and I are total lightweights. Neither of us have any tolerance for alcohol, and it's totally pathetic. So last night when I got a bottle of red wine for dinner, I realized that if anything we'd each have maybe two small glasses and be left with half a bottle of wine. Of course, I could have stashed away the leftovers for the next night, but if you saw how packed my fridge currently is, you'd realize that this is not an option. So the logical conclusion is of course to cook with the rest of the wine, hence "Battle Wine".

Part one was a simple beef stew, to celebrate the fact that the weather has finally cooled down. My stew is so simple that it hardly calls for a recipe. Start with some olive oil in a big heavy stew pot, generously salt and pepper the beef, then sear beef on all sides. Toss in the roughly chopped mirepoix. (That's one of Josef's favorite words, and consists of carrots, celery, and onions.) Saute until the veggies have started to soften, then sprinkle the whole thing with a couple tablespoons of flour. You could also do it correctly and make a slurry with cold water and either flour or cornstarch, but I just sprinkled it in. Pour in a couple glasses of wine, then a big can of whole plum tomatoes. If you need more liquid, add either water or beef stock. Throw in whatever fresh herbs you have on hand -- I had a bunch of sage and parsley. Bring to a boil, then lower to a strong simmer for 1 to 1.5 hours, depending on how small you cut the meat and how soft you like it. I also add chopped potatoes, but hold them back for the last 45 minutes or so of cooking because I prefer them not so mushy. Serve with a piece of crusty bread, or over rice.

Coming up next, part two of Battle Wine, in which we experiment with some pears.

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