Archive for squawk

Simple, effective, and easy.

Posted in Cooking with tags , on April 13, 2010 by grimgastronomicon

This afternoon, my stomach told my brain it was thinking about dinner, brain replied by sending impulses to my limbs that made me go to the grocery store. When I arrived, I prowled until I got to the meat aisle (I find it hard to not a dinner around meat, but I’ll try expanding my horizons in the future. For now, drilling the basics is satisfying enough), and found myself picking up a pack of cubed beef. From that point, I knew I was making stew.

I wanted one that was simple, hearty, and somewhat piquant, so I figured I’d stick to a standard loadout of vegetables, and dig through spices and seasonings at home.

I also caved and bought Oreos (and Fudgeeos. And later, Jos Louis’).

After grabbing a few more necessities, I found my grocery bags to be unpleasantly heavy (/digging into my finger pads to the point of mild bruising), but It’s only a few blocks from the grocery store to my apartment, so I neglected the bus (plus, that would mean crossing the street, somehow juggling heavy bags while digging out my transit pass, boarding a bus during rush hour etc). Upon arriving back after my somewhat arduous journey, I sat down in my recliner, cracked open my Bittman, and scanned his stew recipes. After getting a general idea, I promptly fell asleep in my recliner, where my cat Squawk proceeded to try and annoy me awake over the course of a couple hours.

the Squawk in question, but not the recliner. Squawk is not for eating.

When I awoke, I realized through my muzzy haze that I had forgotten to check earlier if the potatoes in the kitchen were still viable candidates for consumption. They weren’t >_<. Sighing, I decided to go to the closer, albeit less useful grocery store, and got a handful of red-skinned potatoes. This is when I purchased the Jos Louis (which, by the way, are my next homemade baking project, so keep your eyes peeled).

Returning home, the cooking began in earnest.

After ensuring I had turned on the right burner (as let’s be honest, it’s a bad thing when you turn on the wrong one, and have something like a popcorn maker sitting on an active burner you’re not aware of…), I browned the beef, and removed it to the side, and dumped the fat from the pot, leaving the browning/flavour on the bottom. I then sweated a diced onion for 10 minutes, and then added in some pre-made beef broth (thus taking care of my sodium needs as well. Seriously, if you ever make use of pre-made mixes and broths, always check the salt content before salting your food, as you probably have no need to add extra salt), and a half can of Boddingtons Ale. I then re-added the meat,a teaspoon of flour and began seasoning it.

Seasoning:

-A head of garlic-crushed, not minced. (the full cloves fit with the large chunks of meat and veg, and I didn’t feel like mincing them)

-chili powder (probably 1 tbs or so), curry powder (1 tsp or so), cayenne (mainly to add to the colour)

-black pepper (hmmm…kept adding more throughout)

-Wholegrain Dijon mustard

(I added varying quantities of these throughout as I tinkered with the flavour. I also needed to add more liquid at one point, which unbalanced everything, and it took a while to rebuild the flavour profile I wanted).

I let it reach a boil, then lowered the temp to a simmer, and covered it, and went and watched the latest ep of Spartacus (the usual mix of lowbrow thrills, It was a fun episode), After a half hour, I came back, added in some carrots and potatoes, brought it back to a boil again (I was hoping this would activate the starch in the potatoes, and thicken the sauce), then turned it back to a simmer, covered it, and left it for 45 minutes or so, only checking on it every 10 min or so.

When I returned, I added in some frozen peas, and let it simmer uncovered for a few more minutes, hoping to thicken the sauce further.

almost done

How’d it taste? Pretty damn good, actually. I was pretty clear with the flavours I wanted, and I achieved them. It was mildly spicy, but still had a thick, beefy taste with some sweet notes.

The meat was well cooked (though I may try cutting my product smaller next time, and see how much it affects the overall cooking time), and the sauce tasted good. The potatoes pretty much collapsed into the stew, thickening it immensely, so I may use a touch more liquid next time. I served it with a French stick to sop up the juice/have stew spooned on it, and it was good.

Overall, damn simple, low maintenance, and good tasting.

This was my late night dessert while writing this

Orange slushee and Ms. Vickies. Hot damn!

go ahead, grab one