Why I Am A Bad Food Blogger: Part I

Although I do try new recipes pretty regularly, I almost never remember to photograph the results to blog about them later. And if I do remember to take a photo, the combination of bad kitchen lighting plus my somewhat mediocre camera often results in some pretty shite photos.

However…

That is beef and beer stew, adapted from Real Simple magazine.

I’ve had some serious issues with Real Simple in the past, but seeing as this recipe came from FreshDirect, I felt okay about trying it out. Here it is:

6 tablespoons olive oil
4 slices bacon, diced
2 1/2 pounds precut stew meat
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 medium yellow onions
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
2 12-ounce bottles dark beer, such as brown ale
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary

Place the oil and bacon in a large skillet (or Dutch oven) over medium heat. Fry the bacon until crisp and transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside. Season the beef with the salt and pepper. Add some of the beef to the pot, being careful not to crowd the pieces. Cook until browned, about 7 minutes per side. Transfer to the plate with the bacon; set aside. Repeat with the remaining beef.

Add the onions and garlic to the pot and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Return the beef and bacon to the pot and add the tomatoes, beer, brown sugar, thyme, and rosemary. Bring to a simmer. Cook until the meat is falling apart, about 2 hours.

(The original recipe had potatoes in it, but after smelling this for two hours, there was no way I was going to wait another 30 minutes for the potatoes to be done.)

This stew (soup? is it only a stew if it has potatoes?) was unbelievably good. Two full bottles of beer seemed like an awful lot — as I poured them in, I’m pretty sure somewhere a frat boy burst into tears without knowing why — but combined with the tomatoes and bacon fat, it made the most incredibly rich, savory broth, without tasting the least bit beery.

One thing, though — maybe one of you can answer this for me: despite cooking it for two hours, the teaspoon of rosemary stayed pretty sharp and somewhat unpleasant. I found myself picking rosemary leaves out of my mouth as I ate. Can I chop/crush/grind dried rosemary?

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10 thoughts on “Why I Am A Bad Food Blogger: Part I

  1. Hi Kristen – If a recipe calls for rosemary, I try to use half the amount called, stick to sprigs of it, and fish them out like bay leaves before serving.

    Even better, I leave it out entirely.

  2. I would definitely use fresh rosemary always!

    and if you must use dried rosemary, get the pre-ground stuff. doesn’t stick in your teeth ;-)

  3. Sprig. Fresh. Throw in, fish out. =) Stems are VERY woody and do not, now, or ever, soften with cooking…

  4. I know the stems are woody — I was wondering if the leaves fall off during cooking. Well, either way, I’m pitching out this old dried stuff.

  5. i’ve only roasted with whole sprigs of rosemary (no needles falling off) so can’t comment on any other cooking methods. though you could tie your rosemary up in cheese cloth and dunk it into your flavorful cooking liquid. then there is no worry about loose needles, just scoop out the cloth.

    RG

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