Saturday, January 19, 2008

From the Kitchen: Beef Stew and Homemade Bread

Baby, it's cold outside! What could be better for a dairy-free dinner than hearty beef stew and a nice thick slab of fresh-from-the-oven bread? Hearty beef stew and a nice thick slab of fresh-from-the-oven bread that was made by someone else. Well... that wasn't an option, so I made it myself.

Carol's Beef Stew

1 pound beef for stew, cut into 1" cubes
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup oil
2 cups beef broth
1 tbsp ketchup
2-4 potatoes peeled and cubed
1 onion, thickly sliced and coarsely chopped
2 whole carrots, sliced, or equivalent amount of baby carrots in bite-sized pieces
Salt and pepper to taste

Salt and pepper the meat and then toss with the flour to coat. Heat oil in a large pot and brown the meat on all sides, adding all of the excess flour. Add the broth and the ketchup and stir well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until meat is tender. Add the vegetables and 1 tsp salt. Stir well. Make sure that the vegetables are covered with the gravy. Add more water or broth if necessary. Bring to a boil and then cover and let simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 30-45 minutes. Thicken the gravy with a mixture of flour and water, if necessary.

Traditional White Bread

6-7 cups bread flour
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp shortening
2 packages yeast
2 1/4 cup warm water

Mix 3 cups flour, sugar, salt, yeast and shortening in mixer bowl. Add warm water. Beat with mixer on low speed until all flour is incorporated. Add flour, mixing in one cup at a time, until dough pulls away from the bowl and is easy to handle. Knead on a floured surface until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl, turning one to grease all sides of dough. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled. Punch back and divide in two. Shape each half into a loaf, place in greased pan, cover and let rise until doubled. Bake at 425 for 25-30 minutes or until golden and hollow-sounding.

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