Goddammit I’m Gonna Cook Today – Dijon & Cognac Beef Stew

I woke up at 11am today, which I haven’t done in a very, very long time. People who aren’t divorced, this is one perk, just sayin. 11am was really noon due to daylight savings. I had no idea that was happening last night, like I completely missed it, but ok. Normally, Sunday mornings we are up early, it’s movie day! We watch a superhero movie and snuggle, but Oliver was with is dad last night. So I had a night to myself, got real crazy, ate some Thai food and started a Match.com profile. But that’s a post for another day.

Aaaaaanyway, after feeling like a complete piece of shit for sleeping in so late, I decided to take on a serious cooking endeavor in order to feel productive. I posted on Smitten Kitchen’s Dijon & Cognac Beef Stew earlier this week and the timing seemed perfect. It’s almost spring, hence the hour gain, but still comfort food weather. This recipe boasts a 3 hour cooking time, but it’s not 3 hours of hands on intensive labor, it’s a few different simmer periods. It is really, really good. Simple but richly flavorful, highly recommend. I would tweak a few things if I were to make it again, I modified the recipe accordingly for your benefit below. I served over egg noodles. Oliver ate the egg noodles. Great.

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Dijon & Cognac Beef Stew courtesy of Deb Perelman

Adapted slightly – Serves 4 to 6 – takes about 3 hours total

Ingredients

  • 1/4 pound salt pancetta diced
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons butter, more as needed
  • 2 pounds beef chuck, in 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Cognac
  • 2 cups unsalted beef stock
  • 1/2 cup smooth Dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons coarse Dijon
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into half-moon slices
  • 3/4 pound mushrooms, stemmed, cleaned and quartered
  • 1/4 cup red wine

Directions

  1. Place pancetta in a Dutch oven over low heat, and cook until fat is rendered. Remove solid pieces with a slotted spoon, and save for another use, like your salad, vegetables or, uh, snacking.
  2. Raise heat to medium-low, and add onion and shallots. Cook until softened but not browned, about 10 to 15 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a large bowl.
  3. If necessary, add 2 tablespoons butter to the pan to augment fat. Dust beef cubes with flour, and season lightly with salt and more generously with pepper. Shake off excess flour, and place half the cubes in the pan. Cook over medium-high heat until well browned, almost crusty, on all sides, then transfer to a bowl with onions. Repeat with remaining beef.
  4. Add Cognac to the empty pan, and cook, stirring, until the bottom is deglazed and any crusted-on bits come loose. Add stock, smooth Dijon mustard and 1 tablespoon coarse mustard.
  5. Whisk to blend, then return meat and onion mixture to pan. Lower heat, cover pan partway, and simmer gently until meat is very tender, about 2 hours, adding carrots after about 45 minutes. NOTE – I would really, really suggest monitoring things along the way so the beef doesn’t get overcooked and the carrots get cooked through. I had some issues with this, but I think my modifications should solve for you.
  6. As the stew cooks for the last 30 minutes, heat 2 tablespoons butter in medium skillet over medium-high heat, and sauté mushrooms until browned and tender. Stir mushrooms into stew along with remaining mustard and red wine. Simmer 5 minutes, then taste, and adjust seasoning. Serve hot over wide egg noodles.

Time To Move On…

It’s time to move on, time to get going
What lies ahead, I have no way of  knowing
But under my feet, baby, grass is growing
It’s time to move on,  it’s time to get going

Totally cheesy, I am well aware, but these Tom Petty lyrics keep playing in my head…

Purge, purge, purge. To date, I have made $2200 from all of the stuff I’ve sold on Craigslist and SwopBoard. If you know where I live, please don’t rob me. I really, really want to sell my dining room set so I can buy these Room & Board chairs, they would look so perfect in my new house! As much as I love the cash, it’s not just about the selling, it’s about the donating and getting rid of stuff I don’t use anymore. It feels so good!  Old toys, clothes, shoes, etc. – get that shit outta my house! Moving has been the best motivator to pare down.

Out with the old, in with the new. As I just sold my old Bose home audio system, I was allowed to buy a new speaker. I chose the Sony HT-CT660 Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer ($300). I like it! It’s a different deal than the little speakers I had before, the sound is good, but I’m an audio layperson, so I’m not too particular. I also bought a new remote, which was just as expensive as the speaker, the Logitech 915-000201 Harmony Ultimate Remote with Customizable Touch Screen and Closed Cabinet RF Control ($349). This guy will replace the need for the 4 remotes I am currently using (Xbox, TV, cable, speaker) and I will be able to hide all of the boxes in my new built-in cabinets, yay! I bought it on Best Buy and it came with 1 hour of Geek Squad time, so they will do the programming for me. It is very, very sad that this may be the most exciting news of my day.

Sony Soundbar Logitech Remote

I move in less than a month. Movers have been secured, Comcast is being transferred (that is the #1 item on the list of things that need to be ready the day I move in, duh), new furniture is being delivered, this is all coming together spectacularly.

Here’s a little sneak peek. (Please note, these pics were taken by my mom, hence the odd angles)

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