it's all about the sear.

let's talk shortcuts. for the most part i am all for them. gets you to your final destination faster. quicker. or sometimes, mainly in my case.....just on time. in this world we live in - well in my world - the minutes seem to be melting by way to fast and i am too busy catching the drips and finding more time than just enjoying the hours in which we live. i have always been this way. i have yet to grasp the concept of just how long 5 minutes really is and how long it actually takes to get somewhere. and to do something? i find myself saying "this will only take me 20 minutes" when i can get lost in it for 2 hours and really have no idea {this project has actually been monopolizing most of my week}. i've had fabric out for a week for pillows i want to sew, thinking i could just whip them off...forgetting how time consuming it actually is.
i am helpless this way.

the only place i have any concept of time {sort of} is in the kitchen. i understand how many steps some things to take and that short cuts are not always the answer to it all. that baking is a measured out science. and that carefully drying off every chunk of meat before tossing it in the flour/thyme/garlic mix and THEN searing them off - carefully and in batches as to not crowd the meat - creates a delicious stew. every time.
it's worth the effort.
perfect for the snowy days ahead.

happy december.

apple cider beef stew.
this beef stew actually got a shout out on the radio then became an instant customer favorite. i hope you enjoy it as well. perfect stick-to-your-ribs, warm-you-up-from-the-inside-out kind of dinner.

extra virgin olive oil - i keep this handy as i am searing
2 to 3 pounds stew beef chunks.
3 to 4 cups of beef stock {depending on how much beef you use}
2 cups apple cider
2 large onions {i like a lot..you could put down to 1} peeled, halved and large sliced.
3 to 4 large carrots - peeled and large diced
4 stalks of celery - large dice
4 medium potatoes - peeled and diced about the same size as the carrots and celery.
1 cup of flour
2 tablespoons of ground thyme
3 teaspoons of garlic powder
ground black pepper
3 bay leaves

get out your large dutch oven or stock pot. place on stove. no heat.

first thing i like to do is get my vegetables ready. cut up your carrots, celery and potaoes and place off to the side. then cut your onion and place that aside on it's own. next to your beef. what i like to do is line a cooking sheet with paper towel and dump out all my meat on to it. spread it out. let it sit there for a couple of minutes.

take out 2 large bowls and place in each 1/2 cup of your flour, 1 tablespoon of thyme, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the garlic powder and about 10 grinds of pepper. mix this together. one bowl is for your meat and onions and one for your vegetables.

back to your meat. here's how it goes....take a piece of paper towel, press a chunk of meat in the towel to really fry it off, toss in flour. do this with about 1/4 of your meat. now coat the meat in the flour mix so thy are completely coated. meanwhile heat your pot over medium and drizzle in some olive oil. once hot pace in your beef chunks so they cover the bottom of the pan but are not touching...you don't want to crowd them. while these start searing get some more of your beef ready for round two. you want to sear off the pieces about a minute or two on each side. tip: when your meat is ready to turn it will release from the bottom of the pan - if it's really stuck leave it a little longer {sometimes if it's a little stuck you can give it a little tug - trust yourself!}. when your pieces are seared on all sides remove from pan on to a plate and repeat until all pieces are done. keep adding drizzles of olive oil when needed - you don't want the bottom to burn - that's the base for your gravy. when you reach your last batch in the flour mix toss your onions in as well and sautee them up with this batch.

once your meat is all seared and removed to a plate {onions as well} now turn your attention to your vegetables. you are going to place them ALL in the second bowl you made up with the flour mix and coat them completely. add a little more oil to your pot and get that a little hot then put in your veggies. toss them around so they get a little oil coat on them and let them sizzle away for about 3 minutes. then add your beef, bay leaves and apple cider. next add your beef stock. you want your mixture just covered by the liquid so you may not have to use it all...again depending on how much beef you are using. once it's all in bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 45 minutes {occasionally checking on it and giving it a stir}. after 45 minutes take the lid off and let simmer, stirring occasionally, for about another 45 minutes or until the meat and vegetables are tender. if the liquid level get's too low just add a bit more stock or water to bring it back up a bit. check your seasoning...add salt or pepper...then serve with crusty bread or garlic rosemary rolls.


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