Stew: Warmth and comfort in a pot |

Stew: Warmth and comfort in a pot

With short blustery days and long cold nights, winters chill seeps deep into our bones. You can pull on an extra pair of socks and wrap yourself in a sweater, but what you really need is the kind of warmin that only comes from Mommas kitchen.True warmth comes from the inside, so put that extra sweater away, and nestle up to a big bowl of home-cooked stew and a rustic loaf of bread. In a matter of minutes you can have a tasty batch simmering away on your stove ready to welcome the family home with its irresistible aroma and rich, roasty flavor. Simple and inexpensive, stews are one of mankinds oldest and most perfect foods capturing the warmth and comfort of home in a single pot. The steps are easy and the ingredients are flexible, but the outcome is always the same the heartening taste of home and hearth.Theres nothing like moms home cookin!Buon Appetito Salte!Chef Michael Angelo Mick Rosacci is a gourmet food and wine consultant in his familys business, Tonys Meats & Specialty Foods, in Littleton. Follow him on a weekly journey through the seasons and reasons of cuisine, one taste at a time. E-mail: Stew wIth Red Wine2 lbs. beef chuck cubes4 TBS oil, separated2 cups Mirepoix (1 cup minced onion and 1/2 cup each of minced carrots and celery)3-4 cloves garlic, minced2 TBS fresh parsley, minced1/4 bottle red wine6 cups beef stockBouquet Garni (fresh thyme, bay, oregano and rosemary tied together)3 lbs. chunked vegetables (carrots, potatoes parsnips, turnips, celery, etc.)flour, salt and pepperRoll beef in flour and brown half of the meat in 2 TBS oil, remove. Refresh with 1 TBS oil and brown remaining meat, remove and reserve. Do not let brown bits in pan burn.Refresh with 1 TBS oil, add Mirepoix, minced garlic and parsley. Saut until starting to brown then add back beef along with 1/2 glass of red wine, reducing until wine is gone. Add 6 cups beef stock, remaining wine, and bouquet garni. Cover and simmer slowly for approximately two hours.Add vegetables, bring to a boil and skim. Reduce heat, taste and adjust seasoning. Cover and simmer on low for 30-45 minutes.Make a smooth slurry of 1/4 cup flour and 1/2 cup water. Slowly stir in desired amount and simmer 15-30 minutes longer to thicken. Taste and adjust. Serve. Chef Mick Rosacci, Tonys Meats & Specialty FoodsCentennialGreen Chili StewClassic old-world techniques meet rustic southwestern zing in this new-world dish.2.5 lbs. beef chuck or pork cubesflourvegetable oil1 med. onion, minced1 large carrot, minced3-4 cloves garlic, minced4 cups low-sodium beef or chicken stock2 cups wateroregano, cumin, bay leaf, salt & pepper3/4 to 1 1/4 cup roasted, peeled and seeded chiles2-3 pounds carrots and potatoes, chunkedHeat 2 TBS oil in a heavy pan over medium heat. Toss stew meat in flour, shaking off excess, and place a single layer of meat in pan to brown do not turn until first side browns! Remove and repeat until all the meat is browned reserve. Take care not to let brown bits in pan burn.Refresh pan with vegetable oil, adding minced onion, carrot and garlic. Saut and stir with a wooden spoon to release brown bits. When veggies begin to brown, add stock, water and meat along with chiles. Season to taste with approximately 1 tsp. each: oregano, cumin, salt and pepper along with 1 bay leaf. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer very slowly for 2-3 hours, stirring from time to time and skimming as needed.Add chunked vegetables, to taste, then bring to a boil and skim. Reduce heat and simmer, taste and adjust seasoning. Partially cover and simmer slowly for 1-2 hours longer, cooking meat and veggies to desired consistency. Taste and adjust as needed.Make a slurry of a scant 1/2 cup flour and 1 cup water. Slowly stir in desired amount and simmer 15-20 minutes longer to thicken, stirring often. Even better the next day. Chef Mick Rosacci, Tonys Meats & Specialty FoodsBeef & Guinness Stew 2 lbs beef shin meat2 oz all-purpose floursalt and pepperoil for frying1 large onion, sliced1 large carrot, sliced1/2 pint Guinness1 bay leaf4 oz pitted prunes, soaked in water2 TBS chopped parsleyHave your butcher cut meat into 1-inch cubes, reserve shin bone to add later. Season the flour with salt and pepper and toss the meat in the flour. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or casserole and fry the beef cubes until browned all over. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes then stir in any remaining flour. Add the carrot, Guinness and 3 cups water, stirring well to combine. Bring to a boil, add the bay leaf and shin bones, cover and simmer gently (or braise covered in a 300-degree oven) for 2-3 hours until the meat is tender.Half an hour before the end of cooking time, add the prunes, remove the bay leaf, and adjust seasoning as desired. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with potatoes. Irish Food and Folklore, Clare ConneryMoroccan Lentil StewA hearty meatless stew that cooks in the crock pot while you are away.1 cup dried lentils, sorted and rinsed1 lb. butternut squash, peeled and cubed10 small new red potatoes, cubed1 onion, chopped2 cloves garlic, minced2-14 oz. cans diced tomatoes, undrained1 TBS curry powder1/2 tsp. salt2 cups water8-oz. pkg. frozen cut green beans, thawedCombine all ingredients except green beans in a 3-4 quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours until lentils, squash and potatoes are tender when tested with knife. Increase heat to high setting. Stir in thawed green beans, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes until mixture is thoroughly heated and beans are tender. 6 servings Pillsbury Pepper & PineapplePork Stew4 boneless pork chops, cut into 1-inch cubes4 carrots, sliced1/2 cup chicken broth3 TBS teriyaki sauce1 TBS cornstarch1 8-ounce can pineapple chunks in juice, drained and juice reserved1 green bell pepper, seeded & cut into 1-inch piecesBrown pork cubes in hot skillet. Mix pork, carrots, broth and teriyaki in 3 -/2-quart slow cooker; cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours. Mix cornstarch with reserved pineapple juice; stir into pork mixture. Stir in pineapple and green pepper. Cover and cook on high 15 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Serves 4Chicken Stew1 lb. boneless chicken1/4 cup flour 1 tsp. minced garlic3 TBS oil1 cup onion, chopped1 cup baby carrots1 cup potato, chopped2 cups chicken stocksalt and pepper1/4 cup parsley, minced1 TBS flour1/4 cup milkSlice boneless chicken into strips, sprinkle with salt and pepper and coat in 1/4 cup flour. Brown chicken and garlic well in 3 Tbsp. oil, turning once. Remove chicken to a paper towel-lined plate and reserve.Add onion, carrot and potato to oil remaining in pan and fry to lightly brown, tossing regularly. Carefully add 2 cups chicken stock, cover and simmer for 40 minutes.Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Add browned chicken pieces and minced parsley. Whisk flour into milk, slowly stir in 1/2 cup hot stock, then add back to pot. Simmer covered for 30-40 minutes longer and serve. Chef Mick Rosacci, Tonys Meats & Specialty FoodsFind more stew recipes at

Chateau Pesquie Cotes du Ventoux 2001, France, $12 A dense purple wine made from 30-year-old grenache (60 percent) and syrah (40 percent) vines with intense flavors of dark berries, spice, earth and violets and a long, juicy finish. A seamless offering with outstanding depth that is perfect with beef stews, roasted or grilled meats, and cheeses.Domdechant Werner Hochheim Riesling Spatelese 2001, $13 An impressive best buy with fresh ripe flavors and aromas that are perfect with this weeks green chili stew, chicken stew or pork and pineapple stew. Certain to be a hit with both connoisseurs and those kicking the White Zinfandel habit.

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