Beef Stew with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

I recently had surgery on my foot – which has left me unable to bear weight on it for six weeks, making cooking and preparing meals (or doing much else) quite a task. While my husband has been a huge help, he has to get on with his crazy busy work schedule, and can’t really help with the daily chores and cooking.

Enter my amazing friends!  I cannot begin to express how thankful I am for the friends in my life/my whole family’s lives!  In such a down and out state, my friends have been there to drive me and my children virtually everywhere, have been bringing me yummy, healthy, soul-satisfying meals for THREE WEEKS STRAIGHT, and doing anything and everything to make sure my family and myself are taken care of.  I find it heartwarming to know that I am surrounded by the most amazing women in the world!  THANK YOU – to everyone!

As I begin to blog more frequently and heal, I want to share with all my followers the meals they’ve been sending to me.  I’m going to start with one by my friend and neighbor Cynthia.  Here is her email to me below, as to why she chose this recipe, what cookbook it’s from, and where she even got the beef to cook it.  I hope you enjoy it as much as my family did.  It was just what the doctor ordered :)

From Cynthia: “This is rom my favorite cookbook – The Loaves and Fishes Cookbook by Anna Pump.  Whenever I think of something to bring to someone recovering from illness or having a baby, I think of this recipe.  I guess the rich beef stew seems so nourishing to me.  I’ve copied the recipe here straight from the book with her notes (and my notes are below.)”

Beef Stew with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Beef Stew with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

A stew rich with wine, pungent with sun-dried tomatoes, and perfect for cool evenings.

1/4 pound lean bacon strips, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 pounds stewing beef, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
3 cups peeled and finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons peeled and minced garlic (about 4 large cloves)
1/4 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 cups red Burgundy wine
1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
2 bay leaves, broken in half
1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
32 small white onions, skins left on
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound small mushrooms, stems removed
Thyme sprigs (for garnish)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Brown the bacon in a large saute’ pan.  Transfer to a plate and set aside.  Discard all but 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat.  Add half the beef to the fat in the saute’ pan.  Brown over medium-high heat.  Transfer the browned meat to a large casserole and repeat this procedure with the remaining meat.
Place the onion and garlic in the same pan.  Brown, over medium heat, stirring a few times.  Add the flour and stir until blended with the onions.  Add the wine, stock, and tomatoes.  Stir to scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add the thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper.  Bring the liquid to a boil.  Then pour it over the meat in the casserole.  Bake the stew, covered, for 2 1/2 hours.
When the stew is almost ready, place the small unpeeled white onions in a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil.  Boil for 2 minutes and drain.  When they are cool enough to handle, remove their skins and set aside.
Melt the butter in a skillet and saute’ the mushroom caps over high heat until lightly browned and heated through, about 3 to 4 minutes.
To serve, add the bacon, onions, and mushrooms to the stew.  Stir carefully to mix them in.  Garnish with thyme sprigs.

Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Preparation time: 3 hours

Anna Pump’s notes: This stew can be made 3 days in advance, then reheated in a 350 degree F oven for 40 minutes.  I usually serve it with Barley Pilaf followed by a crisp green salad and a platter of assorted cheeses.  For dessert I find that fresh Raspberry Ice Cream and a plate of Madeleines are a perfect finale to this hearty dinner.

My notes: For the beef, I used McCutchen Farm’s grass-fed sirloin steaks.  I only use about 1 cup chopped onion.  I chop the sun-dried tomatoes coarsely.  I find I usually can add more chicken stock, say 3 cups or so, to stretch it a little.   I don’t add that many of the small white onions: seems like the recipe has a lot of onion!  I like to serve it over rice with a nice green salad and crusty bread.

Thank you Cynthia for such a wonderful and satisfying meal!

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