Monday, December 7, 2009

The Great Beef Stew Search Continued

Last week I got the a new issue of Cook's Illustrated and there was a recipe for "The Best Beef Stew." What makes it the best? Well, probably the fact that they make many, many pots of stew to come up with the right recipe and the fact that this one is modeled after Thomas Keller's stew. I can't pass up any recipe that mentions Keller, so last night I tried it out.

Here is what I learned in the process:
  • They don't sell frozen pearl onions at WalMart. (Don't ask.)
  • Anchovies boost beef flavor.
  • Bacon is not a substitute for salt pork.
  • Russet potatoes are not a substitute for Yukon gold potatoes.
  • I do not like peas in my stew. (Technically I didn't learn this in the process, I already knew it and, therefore, left them out.)
  • The secret to rich, glossy sauce is gelatin. No, seriously.
  • I really need to make veal stock.

Was this "The Best Beef Stew?" I don't think I would go that far. But there are a few things that I am going to keep from this round of cooking: anchovies, gelatin, and Yukon golds.

My next recipe to try is the recommendation from Sherri, perhaps incorporating some of my new found stew knowledge.

Also, coming soon: Chicken and Dumplings -- a rich sauce, sweet vegetables, and dumplings that don't stick to the roof of your mouth.

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