I've never craved beef stew but this weather, week after week of rain-drops dripping down our windows and the back of our necks, has me thinking of nothing else. I picked up some grass-fed beef from Bi-Rite and made the most delicious and new variety of beef stew. I tried the recipe from the The San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market Cookbook , I think I've only made it once and it was a traditional stew made with carrots, beef, potatoes, braised with flour for thickner, you get the picture, like mom made. This particular recipe is beef stew with carrots based on a french version called boeuf aux carrottes, and I chose to serve it over boiled potatoes.
With the oven preheated to 325 degrees, I seasoned the beef with salt and pepper, braised each piece until browned on each side, set it aside. Once the beef is set aside nicely browned, I added a cup of red wine and cooked over medium heat. Now the recipe later asked to add one more cup and reduced to half, I think next time I will reduce the 2 cups of wine at once as we all felt a little drunk after this dinner (the alcohol in the second cup was trapped with the lid on), the children were asleep at 7:15 on the dot! I added 2 bunches of carrots, a quart of homemade chicken broth, a nice strip of orange rind peeled with a peeler, onions, a bouquet of garni (what I had from our C.S.A. - rosemary and sage), put lid on the enameled pot and let cook for an hour and half. It was delicious.
follow-up note: So I started this posting two weeks ago and a note: I asked the chidren last night if they wanted beef stew and they both said NO! maybe not a hit with the under 5 feet set, although their bowls were mighty empty. No wonder I never ask them what they want - they just get what I make.