SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— Winter is certainly the perfect, cool weather time to make stews. Stews are heartwarming, delicious and really feel like home. What else is there to say?
In order to make the process a little easier, what I propose is to make a make-ahead stew base. I’ve braised as much as four pounds of boneless meat with some onions and garlic and whatever kind of liquid you like. It could be water, red wine or beer then freeze that after it’s cooked in one-pint containers.
Then to make a stew, it simply means defrosting that and in my case, adding some diced tomatoes (a 14 to 16 oz. can does a nice job), a pound of string beans that are cut an inch and a half long, three or four potatoes that are cut into chunks and a couple of carrots.
Braise that for about 20-25 minutes and you’ve got dinner ready to go to the table. It’s a really easy thing to do. By the way, if you have some turkey or roast beef or roast anything left over from the holidays it’s perfect for a stew. The sandwiches are nice for a few days after, but even those get tiresome.
NARSAI’S MAKE AHEAD STEW BASE
1 TBS salad oil
4 lbs. boneless stew meat cut in 1-1/2″ chunks
salt and pepper
2 large onions, chopped
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cup water or broth
2 cups dry red wine, or beer or water
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and brown the pieces of meat over high heat in
a single layer in 2 or 3 batches. As the meat is browned, transfer it to a Dutch
oven and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat and saute the onions
until starting to brown. Add the garlic and stir for just a minute. Add the water
or broth and scrape the pan to dissolve all the brown bits. Transfer to Dutch
oven. Add red wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a slow simmer and cook,
covered until barely tender, about 1-1/2 hours. Cool, and freeze in 4 one pint
plastic containers, or in portions to suit your needs.
NARSAI’S ASSYRIAN STEW
1 pt. cooked stew base
2 cups diced tomatoes (1 – 14 to 16 oz. can)
1 lb. stringbeans, cut 1-1/2″
3-4 potatoes, cut in 1-1/2″ pieces
2 carrots, cut diagonally 1-1/2″ long
salt and pepper
In a 5-6 qt. Dutch oven, heat the stew base and tomatoes. Add vegetables and
simmer until tender, about 20-25 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
NOTE: Vegetables can be varied to suit your taste.
Narsai David is the KCBS Food and Wine Editor. He has been a successful restaurateur, chef, TV host, and columnist in the Bay Area spanning four decades. You can hear him Saturdays at 10:53am, 12:53pm and 4:53pm, and at 2:53am Sunday on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.
Recipe Copyrighted 2014 by Narsai M. David
(Copyright 2014 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)