Auros (auros) wrote,

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Beef stew/soup with lemon juice, nectarine, rhubarb.

I bought too much rhubarb, for making strawberry-rhubarb-nectarine crisp. And I also bought extra nectarines, just because, hey, nectarines are one of my absolute favorite fruits. (It wasn't so much that I bought too many stalks of rhubarb; it's just that the stalks were much bigger than they looked, or at least bigger than the stalks I'd gotten the previous two times. Really, this all makes sense... if you're me.)

Anyways, I was trying to think what to do with the rhubarb. Maybe make a compote for topping things with? Eh, boring. I'd made crisp three times already, which was kind of enough sweet rhubarb stuff for a few weeks. So I thought -- what about a savory dish? Then I remembered, years ago, seeing some contestant on Iron Chef, on the episode where the theme ingredient was peaches, make a beef stew with peaches. I had nectarines.

I had an idea. An utterly crazy idea. So crazy, it just might work.

2.5 lbs lean stew beef (used less, but it could've used more beefyness)
0.5 cup lemon juice (used more, but it came out more lemony than I intended)
2 thirty-two ounce boxes of broth/stock (used one box each of Imagine Organic beef stock and broth)
herbs and spices (used lemon myrtle, cardamom, marjoram, ginger, and black pepper)
a sprinkle of salt (maybe half a teaspoon? I didn't really measure)
about 3 Tbsp of brown sugar (again, I didn't measure)
half a stick of butter
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
3 large carrots, chopped (all chopped things should be in chunks no bigger than ~¾ inch in any dimension)
4 potatos (about 3" diameter), chopped
4 turnips (similar size; I actually had one thing from the farmshare that I thought was a turnip, but it turns out it was probably a rutabaga), chopped
4 summer squashes or zucchinis (similar size), chopped
2 large, or 3-4 small, stalks of rhubarb, chopped (this can go into much smaller pieces -- chop the stalk lengthwise once, then cut ~¼ inch pieces)
4 nectarines or peaches, chopped (I cut into eighths longitudinally, then made two latitudinal cuts; if you do this right, the lower cut lets you remove the bottom part from the pit, and then you can cut around the pit to remove the rest)

Place beef in a sufficiently-large tupperware. Add lemon juice, herbs and spices, salt, brown sugar, and enough broth/stock to make sure the beef is submerged. Seal, shake. Leave in fridge overnight.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In large (8.5 quart) dutch oven, melt half a stick of butter. Move beef chunks to pot using a slotted spoon, a fork, or some other implement that doesn't bring too much marinade with it. Brown outside of beef chunks. Move beef from pot to a bowl. Add onions to pot, saute for five minutes. Return beef to pot, along with marinade, remaining broth/stock, carrots, potatos, turnips. Cover, bake for 2.5 hours. Remove from oven. Add squash, nectarines, and rhubarb. Cover, return to oven for another 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool covered.

Salt to taste.

Serves 8-10.

This turned out to be a very successful experiment. The root veggies soak up the fruity flavors nicely, the beef is extremely tender... It's just generally a very tasty dish. More soupy than I meant it to be -- possibly I could add another potato cut into very small pieces, that could dissolve and add starch to the broth... Or I could try skipping the sauteing of the onions, and instead dump some flour in to make a roux from the butter, then gradually add the broth to that, then add in the onions and roots.

I got up super-early on Wednesday morning to make stew. (Using the oven for three hours at the end of the day, when it's 85° in the house, seemed like a bad idea.) There's still one serving left in the fridge. It has been quite tasty for lunch each day.

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