Cookin' With Leo
Leo’s Famous Beef Stew
(from away back when)
As ya’ll know from way back, when I first started doin’ these recipes; or if ya’ll ever read my first famous cook book ‘La Dolce Vita’; one of the first things I ever pointed out was that cookin’ with water was not the way to do most of my recipes. I pointed out all sort of things better than tap water which has got to the point of pure YUK. Most city stuff that comes out of the tap is recycled so much that it is about half H2O and the other half HCl. Most of the junk what comes down the river is strained out (the heavy stuff mostly) and the rest settles out in basins. But the only way to make it drinkable is to dump gallons of HCl into it so the rest of the germs all die.
And, so ya’ll know what all them chemical annotations (see I know some big words too) is, I’ll interpret what them symbols mean. H2O is water, which ain’t got nothin’ in it but water. An’, HCl is Hydrochloric Acid, which is one thing they put in H2O+ to get rid of the +stuff. It also cleans bricks and concrete. Of course all them chemists are gonna’ tell you that HCl and HFl, which is Hydrofluoric acid is good for you somehow or other... HFl is supposed to keep kids teeth from rottin’ out, but then if Ma and Pa wouldn’t give ‘em so much sweet stuff to eat, they wouldn’t need no HFl. in the first place. Well, anyway I ain’t gonna’ get into the Scientific realm of how to treat sewer water, so as to make it drinkable water for the city folks what’s got to live where they serve recycled sewer water.
But, let’s forget all about that scientific stuff and get to the way of doin’ things without usin’ water to cook with in the first place. You might be surprised about all the stuff you can use to take care of the water you are supposed to use in what you are cookin’. Way back when I told every one of my readers that coffee, beer, wine, booze, and just about any liquid except fuel oil, gasoline, kerosene, house paint, and horse liniment is good to cook with. Even Moses taught the 12 tribes that hard water (the stuff he got from tappin’ a rock with his staff) was only good for bathin’ and washin’, so he taught them how to make matzo balls out of mead and manna. Moses taught all the brothers that mead could be made from almost any desert flower and grain by lettin’ it ferment with the hard water. How do you think Anheuser Busch got started?
Well, in case you don’t know, way back in the 1800s, one o’them Anheuser’s settled in St. Louis and found out that the Mississippi was nothin but sand and mud wash. Nobody would drink it and all the local folk was turnin’ into drunks from drinkin’ nothin’ but wine and whiskey. So, that guy found a super salesman by the name a‘ Busch, who could sell artesian well water and mash turned into beer to all them women folk, turned into saloon bustin’ broads, so that all them stupefied men folk could sober up. Them housewives brought the stuff home in 6-packs and served it at dinner time. And, everybody even learned to like the stuff and started drinkin’ it at ball games with hot dogs. In fact beer and brat was how come one of the later Anheuser Busch bunch saw how much money could be made off beer, brats, and baseball that he bought the baseball team, the stadium, and all the concession stands.
An’ after many years of makin’ a killin’ off beer, brats, and baseball the kids what came later decided to sell all that and just live off all the breweries that they built all over the world by parlayin’ beer, brats cooked in beer, and a winnin’ team into the biggest liquid makin’ business in the world. And now most Saint Louisians never drink water of any sort instead they drink and cook with beer.
An’ that is how I learned to cook with anything but water. So, now that you know the true local history of beer, brats, and baseball, we can move onto makin’ some good beef stew out of everything but water. This recipe was one of my Irish grandmother’s recipes, that she passed on to me way back when she could not use Mississippi river water to cook with. She never could boil water anyway, but she and grandpa loved beer and he played baseball way back when. She knew how smart I was and she wanted to pass on the family secrets to a beer and brat lover to preserve for posterity an’ whoever else likes Irish Beef Stew made out of everything but water.
So, here is an Irish Beef Stew made with wine
This is what you will need:
A 4 or 5 pound chuck roast. Trim off excess fat, bone it, and cut it into about 2 inch chunks.
Salt and coarsely ground pepper
4 strips of plain, not flavored bacon cut up
1 lb very small white onions not any larger than the meat chunks, peeled
6 medium carrots, scraped and cut into medallions
2 bay leaves
¼ teaspoons each, thyme, rosemary and savory
3 cups dry red wine
3 teaspoons cornstarch
1/3 cup cold coffee left over from breakfast
That’s it now let's get cookin’
First of all you will need a 6 quart or larger cast iron stew pot with a cast iron lid. Toss in the bacon and render out the fat. Meanwhile salt and pepper the beef chunks and coat generously. Toss in the onions and let them begin to turn brown. Add the meat, carrots, bay leaves, spices.
Cover and cook slowly so meat does not burn and stick, stirring ever so often. When the meat is nicely browned on all sides add the wine, cover and lower heat to slow simmer for about 2 hours. Meat should be tender by then so that meat is fork tender.
With a slotted spoon transfer meat and veggies to a warm tureen. Skim off excess fat from liquid in pot and keep on low warm heat. Mix the cornstarch with the coffee and stir into a paste without lumps. Stirring constantly pour the starch into the gravy and let it thicken. Season with any additional salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables and serve. Remove the bay leaves if you find them.
Some smart ass guest is going to ask where the Irish Potatoes are, well, those are in a separate pot all mashed and ready for some of that good gravy spooned over them.
Bud or Mich goes with the stew to wet your whistle.
Take Care Now, Ya’heah!
An’ don’t forget. lots of liquids can be used for water
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