Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cooking With Rickey: Rickey's Unabashedly Irish Stew

*Note, you can find this recipe posted at the RwR sister site, that wondrous platform for those looking to sound off on all things culinary, Adam’s Rib.

Being a northeasterner by trade, Rickey rather enjoys the wintery months and has come to expect a seasonal chill in the air from November through March. Therefore, when the jet stream goes all wonky and it’s suddenly 60 degrees in January, Rickey gets very confused and angry and decides that corrective action must be taken. And what is that corrective action, you might ask? Why cooking a hearty winter stew of course (what? You thought Rickey would try to reduce his carbon footprint? Nah, that shtick is for suckers). Housewives and hobbits everywhere agree—a flavorful stew is an essential part of winter cuisine. Who cares if you were wearing shorts yesterday? It’s 32 freaking degrees again and you, friend, are going to cook appropriately goddammit.

We like cooking up this dish for several reasons. First, due to the inclusion of Guinness, it earns the appellation of "Irish" and is therefore preferred by alcoholics and leprechauns alike (or even better, alcoholic leprechauns). Secondly, it requires slow simmering on low heat for several hours—thereby filling one’s abode with earthy aromas. Most importantly, we love this stew because Rickey enjoys preparing food that requires very little attention beyond some initial chopping and pan frying. Think of a good stew as sort of a “fire and forget” weapon in your arsenal of cooking abilities. (In other words, they’re pretty hard to fuck up).

So give Rickey’s Irish Stew recipe a shot, it’s got everything you need: protein, carbohydrates, vegetables, a plethora of seasonings, and most importantly, two different varieties of booze. It’s perfect for a frostbitten Sunday afternoon. We dunno…. when the Giants are playing the Packers on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field perhaps? Once you’re done with the stew, don’t forget a loaf of crusty bread to sop up the stew. Forget utensils: you owe it to yourself to savor this dish like an indentured peasant from days of yore. Alright, we know, enough foreplay Rickey, here’s the recipe:

1/4 cup olive oil (not Bertolini’s, the good stuff)
2 pounds stew beef, cut into 1-inch pieces (or lamb, if you’re feeling gamey)
6 large garlic cloves, minced (good for the heart and guaranteed to keep loved ones and vampires away)
6 cups beef stock or canned beef broth
1 cup of Guinness Draught (or more)
1 cup of decent red wine such as pinot noir (again, or more)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
1/4 stick butter
3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 7 cups)
1 large onion, chopped up
2 cups cut peeled carrots
Salt and Pepper
Chopped fresh parsley

Heat the olive oil in a heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Coat the beef in flour and sauté it until it’s brown on all sides. Add the garlic and sauté it for another minute or so. Add the beef stock, Guinness, red wine, tomato paste, sugar, thyme, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Stir it all together then bring the mixture to boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, then cover the pot and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile in another part of the kitchen, melt the butter in another large pot over medium heat. Add the potatoes, onion and carrots. Sauté the vegetables until they’re golden brown, (about 20 minutes). Set ‘em aside until the beef stew mixture has simmered for one hour.

Once it has, add the vegetables to the beef stew. Put the lid back on and simmer until the vegetables and beef are very tender. This could take anywhere from an hour to two hours--just test the meat every now and then for optimal tenderness. When it melts in your mouth, it's done. Add some salt and pepper to your liking, remove the bay leaves, and serve the stew sprinkled with chopped parsley on top. Behold, a stew worthy of mention.

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Anonymous said...

Replace the beef with veal. Not only does it taste better but you get to eat an animal that suffered its entire life.

Alex said...

yeah, i'm definitely following that recipe come sunday. Good work rickey!

Rickey Henderson said...

Anonymous: um, this is is Rickey's "Unabashedly Irish Stew," not Rickey's "Masochistic Irish Stew"... But hey, if the veal varation is tasty enough to justify the death of a baby lamb, than Rickey is on board.

Alex: A Floridian cooking stew? Now Rickey's heard of everything!

Mikey P said...

Stirring after simmering and boiling? No thanks. That is why They invented the Crock Pot. All the same yummy goodness... even less work. Good call on the stews for the weather... It makes more sense than the BBQing I was going to do this weekend....

George said...

Just think, if the economy keeps tanking, we might be able to savor this dish like an indentured peasant from days of now.

Rickey Henderson said...

Mikey: Alas, Rickey is sans crockpot, but is considering splurging on a Le Creusset...

George: perhaps substituting mutton for the beef to give the stew that "hard times" taste?

MCConfrontation said...

Uhhhh, veal is baby moo-moo, not baby lamb (I think?) but they'd both work just the same.

We already had our winter here in Santa Barbara. It was from approximately December 27-January 2. Now that it's over, I'll be grilling that tri-tip and carne asada on Sunday starting at about 11AM. Pats are on at noon, and there's no better excuse for cracking a cold brew before twelve than a sunday football playoff game on the west coast.

Ed the Gent said...

Seems like the suitable comfort meal for one coping with the recent retirement of Super Joe McEwing.

B Mac said...

On behalf of the Unabashedly Irish, I thank you for your recipe.

Sounds like a must-try this weekend, as it's going to be -12 degrees this weekend here in the Great State of Michigan...

Mike Golch said...

Yo Ricky,I'm with you on haveing an hearty stew or even Chilli during the so called"winter blues"
Being a life long Clevelander,the winter does not bother me either.
Besides making snow angels is a blast.even if your 56 years young like I am!

Anonymous said...

This has to be the worst site I have EVER been on, period! Why take jabs at people that haven't done shit to you? Say what you want but Rickey is one of the only guys that hasen't been mention on the roids.

Mike Golch said...

hey anonymous who said that this is the worse stie.well if you don't have the guts to show your "face" and hide your self that maybe it's you that has the worse site EVER.PUT THAT IN YOU PIPE AND SMOKE IT!!! Rickey,don't let the turkeys get you down.