Tuesday, February 04, 2014

In a Stew

Wide egg noodles are among my very favorite things...particularly with butter, especially with butter and  breadcrumbs.Yesterday, I seemed alone in this, as I schlepped from store to noodle-free store, up to my ass in slush. Pasta yes, noodles no. A clerk in one upscale market showed me to the noodle section. All gone. Given the allotted space, I assumed that some lucky shopper had purchased the sole bag of noodles. Another such market didn't carry noodles at all. Am I that downmarket in my taste? Next stop, the newly tarted up and confusing Key Food, where there is a dazzling array of all things eggy and farinaceous.

Obviously, I'm not going to provide you with a recipe for noodles, as most of you  know you way around a kitchen, although I have doubts about one who seems to subsist solely on popcorn.

Stew is pretty flexible. I was out of (or couldn't find in the uncurated museum that is my refrigerator) beef stock, so went with chicken and a touch of caramel coloring, courtesy of Gravy Master, which has been saving cooks' sanity since 1935. I used 3/4 pound of chuck, cut into smallish cubes, and dredged in flour seasoned with salt and pepper (and a pinch of Aleppo, if possible). Over medium-high heat get a good brown on the beef without overcooking, four minutes or even less. Remove the beef. Add a chopped large onion and a clove or two of minced garlic to the pan. Cook until soft, a minute or two. Put the beef in the pan, some sliced carrots, if you'd like, and add four cups of stock and a healthy slosh of red wine. Pour yourself a glass.

Cook for at least an hour, feeding it more wine from time to time. 

Given that there is no starch is the stew, which at this point resembles soup, it's time to add a thickener. I was out of Wondra, which has featured on the message board for these many weeks, so I mixed a tablespoon or so of all-purpose flour with a couple of tablespoons of stock until smooth. In to the pot, repeating if necessary. Toss in some frozen peas at the last minute.

Arrange as attractively as possible. Strew with chopped parsley, which I sure as hell wasn't going back out to get. What do you think this is, Posh Nosh?

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I'm a ninth-generation Brooklyn native living in Manhattan.