It has been devilishly cold out as of late, and though I complain of it making the daily trip to campus more troublesome,  The Strong and Noble Wonderfully Handsome Mister has been feeling the cold a lot more than myself in his work. On a normal day he’ll return home with his motor oiled hands and gritty uniform tired but happy, but these last few days have shown returns of just tired and cold.

After he got off his boots he made his way to the sink, as always to wash away what didn’t come off during the preliminary scrub at the shop. It’s what he does after work, he grabs his scrubby brush and gets meticulous about dirt that would otherwise get ingrained if he left it. But yesterday, and today as well, the scrubby brush had to wait a few moment as the warm mater washed the pins and needles away.

Cold weather like this calls for stick-to-the-ribs, warm your cockles food, and for The Strong and Noble Wonderfully Handsome Mister, a self professed meat and potatoes guy, I made some beef stew.  The great thing about stew is that it is one of those understanding, flexible recipes. Things will not go awry if you use a little less celery or a little more potato.  And its better the next day, that is if a cold TSANWHM doesn’t eat it all! Hopefully this pot of tasty warm goodness lasts until the weekend, when it is supposed to warm a little!

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Beef Stew

2 Tbsp olive oil

1.5 lbs stewing beef, cubed

1 large onion, chopped

4-5 stalks celery, chopped

4-5 carrots, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 tsp rosemary

1 1/2 tsp thyme

salt and pepper

1 C Red Wine

2-3 C Beef stock

2-3 Tbsp tomato paste

4 potatoes, cubed

Heat the oil in your pot and brown the beef on medium high in batches, so as to not crowd the pot. You’re not looking to cook it through, that’s what the stewing process is for, this is just to heighten flavor. Remove the beef from the pot and keep on a plate for the time being.

Add your carrots, onion and celery, sauteing until sweated and perhaps picking up a little bit of color. Add the garlic, rosemary, thyme and salt and pepper, stirring until aromatic.

Deglaze with the red wine (I used the end of a Cab Sauv that was round about, but you can use whatever you like or have on hand), add the beef back into the pan and then add your stock until the beef is just covered, not swimming in it. Add the tomato paste and mix until it is mostly dissolved (it will dissolve the rest of the way while everything is stewing.

Bring everything just to a boil and add in the cubed potatoes. Reduce heat to low and let the stew, well… stew, for a couple of hours until you (or your chilly companion) are ready to eat.

If too much evaporation occurs during the stewing process, add more liquid; but remember, this is stew, not soup and so should be hearty and thick. Don’t water it down too much!

*PS: Cockles, being warmed, refers to the heart being warmed. Presumably (I should hope) because somebody made a chilly you some stew!

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