Our Daily Dinner

Our Daily Dinner

January 9, 2011

Perfect Cold Weather Dinner: Flemish Beef Stew

When I learned that one rabbit costs 40 dollars, I dropped my intention of cooking rabbit, notwithstanding that this is the Chinese Year of the Rabbit. Instead I decided on the mundane, but affordable, Flemish stew. Ideally the stew should be cooked with Belgian beer. However, any slightly bitter beer will do. It’s the use of spice cookie and cider vinegar that gives the stew its authentic Flemish flavor.

Like most stews, the dish is best made in advance since it improves with age. For once, I doubled the portion and froze half of it for future use.

Menu

Flemish Beef Stew
Roasted Cauliflower Salad
Beer: Sapporo
Wine: Côtes du Ventoux-Delas 2007
Dessert: Lemon Bread Pudding

Recipe Flemish Beef Stew

2 pounds chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes
Salt and pepper
Flour to coat
3 tablespoons butter, more if needed
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 large or 2 small bottles beer
Bouquet garni (thyme and bay leaves tied in cheesecloth)
Orange zest
Ginger bread cookie or brown sugar to taste
Cider or red vinegar to taste

Season the beef cubes with salt and pepper and dredge with the flour. Shake off any excess. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large heavy skillet over high heat and add the beef cubes until browned on all sides. Work in batches so as not to crowd the beef cubes, add more butter if necessary.

Transfer the beef cubes to a heavy Dutch oven. Put the remaining butter into the skillet; add the onions and stir, until lightly brown. Combine the onions with the meat. Deglaze the pan with some beer.

Pour the deglazed scraps over the meat. Add the bouquet garni and the orange zest. Raise the heat and add most of the remaining beer. Cover, and let simmer over low heat for 2 hours or more, stirring occasionally and adding more liquid as needed. Remove the bouquet garni and the orange zest.

When ready to serve reheat the stew. Add the sweet and sour ingredients. Season to taste.

The recipe for roasted cauliflower by Melissa Clark appeared in the New York Times. George and I liked the dish so well, we finished all of it.

Recipe Cauliflower Salad

1 small head cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets
1/3 cup olive oil, more if needed
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 bunch watercress, washed and dried, large stems removed
About ½ cup grated Gruyère or similar cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Cover the bottom of an oven-proof glass dish with oil and place the cauliflower in a single layer into the dish. Season with salt and pepper, mix, rearrange, and brush with additional oil. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, turning once to brown evenly.

Meanwhile, mix together the vinegar, salt, pepper, and remaining oil. Pour over the watercress. Combine cauliflower and watercress salad in a bowl. Toss well and sprinkle with grated cheese.

2 comments:

Linda said...

My mouth is watering. Will I try this? I hope so.

Our Daily Dinner said...

Linda,

It's definitely worth it. The stew needs very little supervision. Great reheated and terrific frozen for future meals.