Tuscan Beef Stew

{ed note: this is a re-run from Feb 2010, perfect for fall weather!}

Out here in California we are staring to see signs of spring, but I know that all my friends in the Mid-West and on the East are still firmly lodged in the throws of winter.  Here’s a recipe for a lovely beef stew that I like to serve over a creamy polenta.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 red onion

2 cloves garlic

3 carrots cuts into 1/2″ pieces

3 stalks of celery cut into 1/2 pieces

2 pounds stew beef cut into 1″ cubes

2 1/2 cups good quality red wine (I used a Merlot)

1 cup of water or beef stock

8 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 tablespoon dry thyme.

3 medium tomatoes, halved (or one small can of diced red tomatoes, drained of most their juices)

1/4 cup of flour

Salt and Pepper to taste.

To Make:

Lightly dredge the beef in the flour

In a hot dutch oven add a tablespoon of oil.  Once the oil is hot add the meat and brown well on all sides.  Remove the beef and add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic to the pot.  Allow them to cook until the onions are slightly softened.  Add the thyme, salt, pepper and wine.  Simmer until the beef is fall apart tender and the stew is thick.  Serve over creamy polenta or with garlic bread and a salad.

This also cooks well in the slow cooker, after browning the meat, add all ingredients to the slow cooker and cook on low 6-8 hours.

I put this in my slowcooker before I left for work this morning and my husband had a bowl for lunch.  The picture is courtesy of him and his I-Phone.

Please note the placement of the thyme stem.  I told him that part could to be tossed but he insisted he like the artistic quality it lent to the picture. :)

Addy- the self portrait

I've always enjoyed making a mess in the kitchen. As a small child I used to sneak into the kitchen to make "rabbit stew" (this consisted of emptying my mom's spices into a large pot of water. Yeah, I was a great kid.) These days I spend my time in the kitchen cobbling together "what-ever-the-heck-you've-got casserole", pushing ethnic-inspired food on my husband and occasionally being called upon to feed the in-laws. I hope you enjoy trying these recipes in your own kitchen. Make sure you let me know what you like! If you want to find me elsewhere on the web- well good luck with that! I'm a baby blogger- this is my first foray into blog land (so let me know how I'm doing!). In real life I can often be found lurking amongst the stacks at local bookstores and libraries sipping on diet pepsi.

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