My attempt to teach myself Italian cooking by working my way through Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Beef stew with Red Wine and Vegetables
This, announces Marcella, is a clean tasting stew uncomplicated by herbs and seasonings. Well, she is right about that. (Note the absence of herbs and seasonings). Interestingly she asks that the meat be shallow fried, rather than just fried in a little olive oil or butter. Perhaps that makes the difference, I thought. The great thing about this dish is the veges. Bizarrely, they are not browned prior to being put into the stew. Instead they are just plonked, along with a whole lot of red wine, and no stock or water. Also bizarrely, for me, the wine is not reduced, except for a few moments. I would normally expect to reduce that much wine by half before adding the (browned) veges. Anyway, as I said, the whole lot gets plunked in, along with some olive oil. And eventually some peas - the best bit about this stew. It only cooks for about 2 hours total. I would normally expect about 3 for this cut of meat, although it was soft enough after 2. The end product though lacked the flavour that Marcella says she craves. It was a bit like, well, meat braised in red wine with a few soft veges. Very wholesome, healthy and all the rest, but you couldn't serve it to guests. Next time I'll brown the veges (except the peas), and throw in some bay leaves, thyme and cloves, and also reduce the wine a bit. Marcella is not getting many wins on the board here. I think the braised chicken is about it. I must be due for one.