Monday, February 10, 2014

Iron Rich Beef Stew

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Dinner.  Mine has fresh spinach at the bottom, but this bowl was all we needed for dinner, with a little wine!
Cast iron cooking is said to impart a little iron.

I went to give platelets today.  They are essential to cancer patients, and I have given blood for as long as I can remember.  However, I have been rejected over and over as of late.  Low iron.  I have blogged about it before, trying high iron foods foiled in a soup, which was pretty tasty.   But I rescheduled my appointment in 7 days, and we are going to see if I can make it come up at all.  Beef, spinach, iron water and red wine.  That's on today's menu.

It is a miserable day.  I know my Northern friends and Chicago son are totally over the snow.  But trust me, it is much better than this 33 degree day with pouring rain.  Relentless rain.  The perfect day to put on an amazing pot of soup and read a book.  Don't mind if I do.

I am making this soup recipe up as I go.  However, I have a confession.  I made this recipe through the tomatoes, and went to add the broth so it could simmer, and I could read my book.  I had a carton of broth in the fridge, opened, well, who knows when.  I gave it a sniff and didn't detect any off smell and so I dumped it in.  And dammit if it wasn't moldy.  So I scraped out what I could see and brought it up to a rolling boil, and gave it a taste.  I have a taste for mold.  I can taste it in ice at a restaurant, in a piece of bread days before you can see it, I am just sensitive to its taste.  And my stew?  No good.  I could smell and taste the mold, even though I had scraped out all signs after I poured it in.  Very sad.  Down the disposal it went.  And I went back to the store in the pouring, freezing, rain...

Round 2 went well, and don't be alarmed there are no spices, no Worcestershire, nothing added.  This stew is fantastic.  The short ribs released their meat and even the stew meat fell apart like a cheap suit.  The key here is the simmer.  No boiling, it should barely move.  You could even pop it in a 300┬║ oven to simmer.  Also, I chose peanut oil because of its high smoke point.  I am cooking in cast iron and cranked the heat so I could get a good sear and the peanut oil helps avoid a burned bottom.  The best dinner!

The short ribs add a little needed fat to the mix, and cooking slow makes that stew meat tender.
2 onions, sliced and chopped

2 cloves garlic, 3 if you're Italian...

Fresh carrots and celery...never those baby carrots, and not frozen!
the chopped mushrooms added in...

Fire roasted adds amazing flavor.


Just a couple little reds, we are not potato eaters.
Demi glace adds incredible depth to cooking.  Worth finding.
Sweetie Petitti Beef Stew

2 T peanut oil
1/2 pound stew meat
1 pound short ribs
salt and pepper
2 yellow onions, thinly sliced, and cut smaller
2 cloves garlic

Heat peanut oil in cast iron skillet until good and hot.  Sear the beef, seasoning with salt and pepper.  Add the onions and garlic and turn the heat down and cook about 5 minutes.  The crowded pan should lend itself to a little moisture, otherwise keep the heat lower.

Add...

5  carrots, chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
8 oz.  mushrooms, chopped
2 small red potatoes, chopped
1 28ox can fire roasted, diced tomatoes (fire roasted is important...very flavorful)
About 20oz stock  add more as you need it (I only had chicken...)
Demiglace (see photo, I found it in the soup section, and it is worth the hunt, deep, rich, flavor)

Simmer on very low heat for a few hours, stirring occasionally.  I use a diffuser plate as my lowest gas setting will boil my precious stew!  Boiling is bad and will make your meat chewy.  After a few hours, the last hour covered, the meat fell off the bones, the stew meat fell apart, everything was perfect.

The diffuser plates keeps the heat tamed and keeps it from boiling.

To serve a low iron person like me, start with a little shot of iron water.  Yum  I mean yuck.  This is actually a little packet of iron rich water that your body is supposed to absorb better than pills and food.  It is a little harsh tasting, but reminds me a lot of my childhood and drinking from the well.

My latest iron supplement.  Iron water....

Then pour a generous glass of red wine, drop a handful of fresh spinach in the bottom of your bowl, squeeze a little lemon on it and then ladle the stew on top.  The spinach in the bottom of the bowl has been my go to to add greens, and the squeeze of lemon is supposed to make the iron easier to absorb.  Who knows, but a little lemon brightens everything...even beef stew.

We declared this the very best we have ever had.  I can hardly wait until tomorrow, I suspect there will be a lot of flavor marrying going on!  So, what are you waiting for?  Get in there and cook!


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