Friday, December 10, 2010

Beef with Carrots

This recipe is a top-favorite in our house, it is constantly requested. With just a few basic ingredients, John Thorne hit on the right combination that alchemizes into the most wonderful dinner imaginable. We have served this to company a number of times and every diner has wanted seconds. Every time. It is very easy to make, too! During the long cooking, the carrots and onion melt down, mixing with the cooking juices to make a dark & rich gravy. I have even made this without the carrots and the end-result is almost the same.

The recipe is from the book Outlaw Cook by John Thorne. This is a wonderful book with a lot of good recipes and techniques as well as interesting and entertaining essays. It is currently available in paperback and John wrote to me that a reissue may be in the near future, although a hardcover edition is well worth having. I particularly recommend Bread and Cheese Pudding (I make a variation which uses Gruyere and wine), Basic Cold-Tossed Noodles (my daughter’s favorite lunch), and the Pecan Pie. Even though I hate regular pecan pie, I love this one (no corn syrup!).

As for the Beef with Carrots, John writes, “The results - given that this is, after all, a very simple dish - were all that I could have hoped for: a meal, in this household at least, whose name still, after several makings, inspires anticipation”. The same is true in our household, too. Thank you, John!!

Beef with Carrots
Outlaw Cook by John Thorne, posted with the author's permission

Makes 8 servings with no leftovers

  2  pounds carrots -- peeled or unpeeled & cut into bit-sized pieces
  5  to 6 medium onions -- cut into bite-sized pieces
  2/3  cup flour -- for dredging (use more as necessary)
         salt & pepper
  1 teaspoon dried thyme -- plus a pinch
  1/2 cup olive oil (approximately)
  4 pounds boneless beef short ribs (large strips) OR other boneless chuck cut into 3" pieces
  5 sprigs  of parsley -- minced
  4 cloves  of garlic -- minced
  2  teaspoons minced lemon zest (not too finely minced)
  1  lemon -- juiced

1.  Heat oven to 300° or convection 280°.
2.  Lightly oil a 7-quart pot or casserole.
3.  Put carrots in pot.
4.  Season flour with generous pinch of salt, pepper, & thyme.
5.  Heat olive oil in a large saute pan until it almost starts to smoke.
6.  Meanwhile, dredge strips of beef in the seasoned flour, shaking away any excess.
7.  Put the meat in the hot oil & turn with tongs to sear on all sides, transferring each piece as it is finished into the pot. Add more oil as necessary.
8.  When all the meat has been seared, put the onion in the pan, adding more if necessary to keep onions from burning.
9.  Cook until onions are translucent & edged with brown, turning often while at the same time scraping up any burnt bits of meat & flour.
10. Scrape all this into the pot.
11. Add parsley, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, and 1 t thyme. Toss well to mix thoroughly.
12. Cover, place in oven, and cook for about 4 hours, checking occasionally to make sure that the contents remain at a bare simmer and to taste for seasoning. May need another hour.
13. Serve over mashed potatoes, or noodles or with crusty bread (we prefer mashed potatoes.

Serving Ideas : Serve with a green salad and mashed potatoes, crusty bread, or egg noodles. Mashed potatoes are best :)

• Note: Can be halved or doubled easily (original recipe is for half the amounts posted above...just not enough for us!)
• Note: For 1 1/2 or a double recipe, use a 12-quart pot.
• Advance Preparation: Can be prepared one to two days ahead of time and reheated gently on the stove or in the oven.
• Keeping: Several days in refrigerator.

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