Serving
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Beef Stew with Chestnuts
England

Serves
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
3 main  
***
2-1/2 hrs  
Yes
A beefy stew with chestnuts to provide both flavor and textural contrast. The recipe is from Elizabethan times, but retains elements of Medieval cooking. This recipe re-heats well and can be made in advance, but to get it right you need a proper Elizabethan Stock, which can be made a few days ahead of the stew.




1
8
1
2
------
1/4
1/4
4
1
------
1/3
1/4
------
4
2
1
#
oz
#
T
---
t
t
c
c
---
t
t
---
slc
T
T
Beef (1)
Chestnuts (2)
Onions
Olive Oil ExtV
-- Stock mix
Nutmeg, grated
Cloves, ground
Stock, Eliz (3)
Wine, Red
---------
Salt
Pepper
-- Serve With
French Bread (4)  
Olive Oil ExtV
Parsley, flat
Prep   -   (25 min - exclusive of Stock)
  1. Trim BEEF of excess fat and cut into cubes about 1-1/2 inch on a side.
  2. Divide Chestnuts (see Note-2) into two 4 oz batches. Crush one batch to coarse crumbs.
  3. Quarter ONIONS lengthwise and slice thin crosswise. Divide into two batches, about 7 ounces each.
  4. Grate Nutmeg. Grind Cloves. Mix with Stock and Red Wine.
  5. IF Using, prepare French Bread. Trim off crusts, place on a baking sheet and brush with Olive Oil. Chop Parsley and sprinkle over Bread. Bake in a 350°F/175°C oven until golden, about 9 minutes.
Run   -   (3-1/4 hrs)
  1. Heat Olive Oil in a heavy bottomed coverable pan (a 3-1/2 quart sauté pan works very well and can even accommodate a double recipe) and fry Beef until moderately browned on all sides.
  2. Stir in 1/2 of the Onions and fry stirring until just translucent.
  3. Stir in Stock mix and the Crushed Chestnuts. Bring to a boil, cover tightly and simmer until beef is nearly tender (about 2 hours for Round, a bit less for Chuck).
  4. Stir in the other half of the Onions and simmer another 30 minutes.
  5. Stir in the Whole Chestnuts and simmer another 15 minutes.
  6. Adjust liquid (see Note-4). Season to taste with Salt and Pepper (depends on how much salt and pepper was in the stock). Simmer another 3 minutes.
  7. Serve hot.   If using the Toast, place it in the bottom of the bowls and spoon stew over.
NOTES:
  1. Beef:   Weight is boneless and with excess fat removed. Round is good here. Chuck can be used but tends to fall apart more.
  2. Chestnuts:   Weight is for roasted and peeled. Prep time above does not includes time for roasting and peeling. For details see our Chestnuts page. The fresh ones we get here in Los Angeles are unpeelable, so I just buy frozen factory peeled chestnuts at the Asian markets. The ones I get taste roasted, so I don't bother roasting them.
  3. Stock, Elizabethan:   This stock is quite different from stocks made today. It should be made in advance to free up time on cooking day. For details see our Elizabethan Stock recipe. Of course, you can use other stocks, but the result will be quite different.
  4. French Bread:   This is traditional, but optional, and not at all practical for buffet service. If serving over toast, the stew needs to be a lot more liquid than if not using toast, because the bread will sop up a whole lot of liquid.
  5. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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