stewing the meat








what meat?
if you're at your butcher and ask for a cut to do beef stew you'll likely be getting just that; whatever it was he cut up that day. if, however, you want to come away with a memorable stew, one to be noted; a dish where after the first bite she'd call you 'her chef';  better still, a stew making the morning after remarkable, then you'll stew not simply any old meat, but braise a nicely cut hanger steak, or even veal cheeks, if you can get them. a preferred meat would be a cut, well marbled, with some connecting tissue, like a roast from the chuck, as it has more fat and therefore more gusto. better still is a hanger steak. it's often called butcher's tenderloin, simply because of its superb flavor. then there is ox tail. it is very tasty,  gelatinous meat, close to the bone and very suited for a stew or a braise. the veal cheek is the ultimate choice. hard to come by, as most butchers won't bother. it is however succulently gelatinous and extremely well suited for a slow braise. so, what's the diff between stewing and braising? not all that much. really, the stew will likely have your choice of beef, cut into small uniform chunks and you'll stew those 'stovetop', submerged in wine (as for boeuf bourguignon) and what ever details your recipe suggests. whereas braising has large cuts of beef partially submerged, likely done in the oven. braising or stewing results in a lovely, tender and thoroughly flavorful meat, with an aroma memorably delicious, of an enduring affair, certainly that.
incidentally, some folk think boeuf bourguignon a difficult task. malarky's all i say. a fanciful recipe, like the movie version of julia child's, takes time of course, but even her detailed depiction is rather straight up, one, any one, with a ladle can readily relish.


spoons dancing in the moonlight


my idea of a heavenly stew is a braised hanger steak. olive oil, carrots, onions, celery, tomato paste, red wine, sea salt, honey and garlic are the few details, sensible quantities and best quality are presupposed. i do the meat on a hot charcoal fire to get it somewhat blackened and crusty, though still very rare. the steak then sinks into the well simmered ingredients and will braise for a good hour in a four-hundred oven. it'll be fork tender by then and ready to plate. oh, and the sauce. reduce it some more if it ain't thick, it ought to be lusciously silken to canoodle that glistening meat.