I had the hungries for a cast iron kettle full of beef stew yesterday and ran across the recipe claim for an “Ultimate” beef stew from celebrity chef Tyler Florence that calls for an entire bottle of red wine. As a cooking liquid, not for drinking. Sheesh. That just rubs me the wrong way. Seems like a hell of a profligate waste of wine.
Nonetheless, I carried a step-ladder from the pantry to the bar, climbed to the top step and hoisted down a dusty bottle of a wine whose label was perhaps more tasty than the contents.
Big Ass Syrah.
Yep. That’s it. I originally had three bottles. Two were still way up on that high shelf. It’s not bad, actually. Just a little light in its loafers, not the kind of flinty gravitas I prefer in a glass. So, if an entire bottle of red wine was going to be sacrificed on the altar of culinary experimentation in my kitchen, it was going to be this one.
Chef Florence’s recipe called for browning the beef – I cut up a chuck shoulder roast – and then braising it in the wine, broth, smashed garlic, thyme and bay leaves. After a couple of hours, I added carrots, new potatoes, pearl onions and, at the last minute, little green peas.
By the time Buck came in from the deer woods, (where he is filling pages of a legal pad with chapters of his book and not really noticing whether Bambi’s granddaddy shows up), Maggie had already swooned by the front door from the smells emanating from the kitchen, and Buck almost did when he came in.
This was the best beef stew either of us had ever eaten: tender, fragrant, silky. We ate a bowl of it with warm Cuban bread on the side and a glass of Mark West Pinot Noir. We’re having more of that Big Ass Beef Stew tonight.