Off the Menu with Dara can be heard every Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon on News Radio 830 WCCO! See all of Mpls. St.Paul Magazine’s Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl’s Top 5 lists here!
What are you doing this weekend? What about making a big batch of beef stew, so you get all warm and cozy and then can reheat a bowl when you take a night to go sledding? I feel strongly that perfect sledding weather is coming soon. You could also make a quadruple batch and freeze some for a future weekend game-day. But what could you make? The options are good! My top 5!
Classic Beef Chili \
A classic Texas ‘bowl of red’ has nothing in it but beef and seasonings—does that make it stew? A little. I use a flexible definition. This stuff gets better and better the first week after you make it, it’s the world’s perfect reheating food.
Hungarian sweet paprika is a miracle spice, smoky, deep, tangy—it’s like chili, but totally different. I’m including two recipes here, a very simple home-cooking version, and a more involved modern version. I like the old-fashioned version, but with the modern addition of a splash of cider vinegar to bring the flavors up more clearly.
What’s the difference between fancy French beef bourgignon and simple beef stew? Just some wine, folks. Well, a lot of wine. It’s wine country beef stew, is what it is. And I love it.
What about Vegetarian Mushroom Bourguignon? What’s a vegetarian dish doing in a beef-stew round-up? It’s because every time I do this one of you text in for the vegetarian option, and a really mushroom-full mushroom stew is a beautiful thing. One thing, it says to serve on noodles, but I really think it’s better on polenta, or mashed potatoes.
Andrew Zimmern’s Fancy Spanish Beef Stew
A few capers, a few pine nuts, some Spanish spices and now we have a beef stew that will make your friends think you are a very elite and fancy world traveler.
Classic Irish Beef Stew
My current obsession is the sweet and rich flavors you get from a classic Irish beef stew if you use a fancy super-concentrated stout or porter like all the indie microbreweries are putting out these days. The Summit Great Northern Porter is a stunningly good beer to cook with—one or two for the pot, one or two for the cook!