This morning, feeling reasonably rested, I set out to tackle some of the items on my cooking list. I had 4 pounds of gorgeous stew meat, already cut into nice big chunks, and some fresh vegetables I picked up at BJs yesterday, and other vegetables in my fridge - those were looking a little limp, past their prime, so to speak, which made them perfect for the stew.
I must have a dozen different recipes for beef stew, but I felt like doing something a little different, and that was where the sofrito and the Tuscany chicken broth came in. This is the result, and it is quite tasty. I cannot, incidentally, emphasis enough the need to taste and season throughout the entire cooking time. According to my own personal cooking god, Emeril Lagasse, this creates layers of flavors which you can't achieve by seasoning just at the beginning or the end.
Somewhere out there rages a huge debate over whether to include potatoes in beef stew. Potatoes stretch a stew to feed even more people. They taste good, having soaked up some of that luscious sauce, but they also thicken the stew more than desirable by soaking up the same sauce. Most importantly, potatoes do not freeze well at all. If you do freeze leftover stew containing potatoes, once it defrosts you will be left with pockets of watery, unappetizing potato sludge.
I would rather choose from any number of side starches to accompany the stew, like poppy noodles with peas, kasha varnishkes, arroz con gandules (keeping with the sofrito mood), homemade spaetzle, or any of their less ethnic cousins. If it is potato you crave with your stew - and I often do - boil, bake, roast or mash them and let the gravy flow. Anyway you choose, you are going to end up feeding a lot of happy people.
Beef Stew in Red Wine and Sofrito
If you have the time, refrigerate the stew overnight and remove the solidified fat layer. Warm the stew slowly, and serve over the starch-of-your-choice. Heartwarmingly delicious, I promise.
To round out the meal, start with a wedge salad and hot rolls or biscuits. Enjoy!