Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Merlot Braised Beef for 2

Back in June I got a bottle of Merlot as a goodbye gift. Not being much of a drinker, it sat on my counter for months until the weather got cool, and then it was....oh MY! I can make Merlot Braised Beef!

This recipe is from Canadian Living's February 2002 and is easily one of Jake's most favorite dishes. It makes 2 servings, so if you have more people in your family you may want to double it. However, the servings are generous because Jake and I always can stretch this to more then one meal. That's okay...the extras freeze really well too. If you choose to double this baby, double all the ingredients except the butter and sugar, which you should only increase by half. Then it will serve approximately 4-6 people.

You will need:

1 lb stewing beef-cubed

1 each onion and stalk of celery with leaves, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, smashed and sprigs of parsley
1 bay leaf
6 juniper berries, crushed (if you can't find juniper berries, don't worry)
1 1/2 cups Merlot or other dry red wine (I found that The Arrogant Frog is really nice for this)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp pepper

2 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp oil
3 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup beef broth
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch lengths
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup pearl onions (or, I just use 1 small onion, sliced-it's cheaper)
1 cup button mushrooms
2 Tbsp fresh parsley

In a large dish, combine the Marinade ingredients with your stewing beef. I like to trim the beef so that there isn't a lot of fat, and cut the pieces into bite-sized. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge for overnight.

The next day, remove the beef from the marinade (keep the marinade though!). Sprinkle it with flour and toss. Strain the marinade through a sieve and set aside. In a Dutch oven with the oil, brown the flour coated beef in batches. Transfer browned beef to a bowl and set aside.

Add 1 Tbsp butter to the pan. Stir in the sugar, and cook until a deep, nutty brown. Stir in reserved marinade, beef stock, beef, carrots, and salt. Simmer, covered, over low heat until the beef is tender (about 1 1/2 hours).

In a skillet, heat the remaining butter and brown onions/pearl onions until brown. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and saute them until brown as well, then transfer to the stew. Simmer for about 10 minutes an then sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley before serving.

This is amazing when ladled over hot garlic mashed potatoes!
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