A new book about Marilyne Monroe was released a couple of weeks ago, and being a huge old Hollywood movie fan, I'm totally craving it. Fragments is a collection of letters, poems and little notes written at the height of her success. And the coolest part of the book is a recipe for stuffing that she scribbled down on a piece of paper with tiny little instructions here and there. Take a look at the recipe. This photo is in the book. To read the New York Times article, click here.
To kick of your weekend on the right foot, a recipe for a classic, hearty beef stew. There are as many variations of this recipe as there are cooks. I like mine with mushrooms and carrots. I also like to serve it with boiled potatoes coated in butter and fresh chopped parsley. That's about it.
The great thing about beef stew, besides the taste, is that it's an economical meal using an inexpensive cut of meat. Beef chuck when simmered for a couple of hours in beef stock and wine becomes tender and falls apart when picked with a fork. A beef stew is also one of those dishes that can be made in advance and reheated later. You can also store a batch in the freezer.
3-4 lbs beef chuck cut into cubes
1 yellow onion chopped
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
1/2 pound button mushrooms quartered (about 1 package)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
salt and pepper
1 cup full-bodied red wine
2 cups beef stock
Buttered boiled potatoes for serving
Minced fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish
Season the beef generously with salt and pepper. Toss with the flour to coat evenly.
Coat the bottom of a large Dutch oven or pot with olive oil and heat on medium-high. Add the cubes of beef in batches and brown on all sides. It's important not to crowd the pot or the beef will not properly brown. Set aside the beef for later.
Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to the pot. Add the onions, mushrooms and carrots and sauté until almost softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme and bay leaves and sauté for about 30 seconds. At this point you could sprinkle in some flour and stir to coat vegetables. This will make your stew sauce a little thicker.
Add the red wine and stir to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the stock and beef. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the meat is tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
From time to time, taste the stew and season with salt and pepper as needed.
When you're ready to serve, remove the bay leaves and discard. Serve over potatoes and garnish with parsley.