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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Coffee, Tea or Stew

Ted was out of town last week and I drank instant coffee.  Every morning.  That's right, I drank instant coffee.  The simple truth is that I cannot make a decent pot of coffee to save my life.  Here I am, a grown woman, who can pretty much whip up anything in the kitchen, and I cannot master the coffee to water ratio required to make drinkable coffee.  It's sad but true.

Ted has tried showing me how to do it more times than I can count.  I have googled "how to make coffee" several times.  I have even watched videos on You Tube.  But when it comes down to it, the coffee is always too strong or, more often, like "hot office beverage".

So, I stick with what I know.  I cook with it.  I add coffee as an ingredient to lots of things.  Coffee makes chocolate taste more chocolaty and in the case of the beef stew recipe below, it provides a slight bitterness that goes beautifully with the bourbon and beef stock.

The good news is that Ted doesn't go out of town for more than a day or two very often so I can be assured of a nice cup of coffee (which Ted makes flawlessly) every morning.  Just one more thing on the long list of reasons why I love him.

Beef Stew with Guinness
(Nathan Lippy)

This stew has a lot of liquid.  Serve it with crusty bread.


2 pounds beef, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
1 cup carrots, rough chop
1 large yellow onion, rough chop
1/2 cup celery, rough chop
1/2 cup Jack Daniels
2 cups potatoes, rough chop
2 pint cans Guinness
1 quart beef stock
4 fresh thyme sprigs
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
1/2 cup leftover coffee (we want the bitterness)
Drizzle of olive oil
Salt and pepper

In a large stockpot, heat up a drizzle of oliver oil over medium heat.  Add the beef and brown for about 5-7 minutes.

Once the meat is beautifully browned, add the garlic and the other vegetables except for the potatoes and caramelize until they have a bit of color (about 8-10 minutes).  Deglaze by adding the Jack Daniels to release the brown bits at the bottom of the pot.  The liquid will boil, loosening the caramelization and adding flavor back to the stew.  Cook for 1 minute.

Add all liquid, the whole sprigs of herbs (tie herbs together with some string), potatoes, some salt and pepper and reduce the heat to a simmer (the soup should have small bubbles rise on the sides of the pot) for 1 hour or longer until the meat is super-tender.

Serve steamy hot with ciabatta or a simple French baguette.

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