There are many times when I get ideas/suggestions from the food blogs that I subscribe to. One such reference is Foodie Crush. Recently they offered suggestions on tips to make superb meals at home. (It’s not difficult!)
I will list the headings here and then you can read the entire – it’s not long – article by using the link above, “7 Easy Tips to Cook More at Home“. Enjoy!
- Start with favorite recipes and organize your list.
- Prep ahead of time.
- Keep staples stocked.
- Whip up one-sheet or one-pot meals.
- Host more dinner parties.
- Invest in equipment you’ll love and use.
- Make now, freeze for later.
And then try this recipe adapted from Chef Jacques Pépin. Great for Valentines Dinner coming up.
Beef Stew in Red Wine Sauce
Source: adapted from Chef Jacques Pépin
Active Time: 1 hr
Total Time: 2 hr 40 min
1 T unsalted Butter
2 T Olive Oil
2 lbs trimmed Beef Flatiron Steak, Beef Cheeks or Chuck, cut into 8 pieces
Celtic Sea Salt and fresh ground Tellicherry Black Pepper to taste
1 c finely chopped Onion
1 T finely chopped Garlic
1 T All-Purpose Flour
750-ml bottle dry Red Wine – Cab Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah or Zinfandel
2 Bay Leaves
1 med Thyme sprig
5 oz Pancetta
15 Pearl or small Cipollini Onions, peeled
15 Crimini Mushrooms
15 Heirloom Baby Carrots, peeled
Chopped fresh Italian Parsley, for garnish
1) Preheat the oven to 350° F. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, melt the butter in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Arrange the meat in the casserole in a single layer and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 8 minutes. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, 5 minutes. Add the flour and stir to coat the meat with it. Add the wine, bay leaves and thyme, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.
2) Cover the casserole and transfer it to the oven. Cook the stew for 1½ hours, until the meat is very tender and the sauce is flavorful.
3) Meanwhile, in a saucepan, cover the pancetta with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain the pancetta and slice it ½ inch thick, then cut the slices into 1-inch-wide lardons.
4) In a large skillet, combine the pancetta, pearl onions, mushrooms and carrots. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, ¼ cup of water and a large pinch each of sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until almost all of the water has evaporated, 15 minutes. Uncover and cook over high heat, tossing, until the vegetables are tender and nicely browned, about 4 minutes.
5) To serve, stir some of the vegetables and lardons into the stew and scatter the rest on top as a garnish. Top with a little chopped parsley and serve.