The weather outside is... confusing.
Though we can't decide if its time for flip flops and Jorts or snowsuits and pom-pom hats- it is still February and winter means Comfort Food. This week's meat from Tad is ready to step into any stew recipe you have and we have shared a few of our favorites -as well as included hints from Mom about how to get it done best.
Claire at Curio Spice Co suggested her Da Lat spice rub to pair with the beef (ingredients pictured above). Claire specializes in sustainably and ethically sourced spices from around the world. She makes thoughtful spice mixes that are inspired by her travels and is always willing to offer recipe and cooking advice. On the Da Lat she says:
"This earthy rub is named after the city in central Vietnam called Da Lat. A popular honeymoon destination, this city and its surroundings are famous for coffee, cassia and cocoa production due to the unique climate. Made with Vietnamese Lam Dong cocoa nibs that impart a spicy flavor, this rub has a touch of coffee and star anise that make it beautiful for rubbing on pork or beef, adding to noodle dishes (like pho) or even sprinkling over cut melon or ice cream."
WHAT'S IN THE BAG?
Protein - Stew Meat from Feather Brook Farms; Maple Greek or Plain Greek Yogurt from Brookford Farm
Fruits and Veggies - Baby Green and Red Leaf Lettuces from Little Leaf Farm; Purple Top Turnips, Potatoes and Carrots from Brookford Farm; Pink Lady Apples from Apex Farm
Grains - Garlic Casarecce from Nella Pasta
Special Treat - Baklava from Vasiliki
Spicy Treat - Da Lat mix from Curio Spice Co.
Pescatarian - Cusk from Red's Best
Vegetarians - Vegan Bacon from the Plant Deli
Protein - Ground Lamb from Clark Farm; Stew Meat and Eggs from Feather Brook Farms; Maple Greek or Plain Greek Yogurt from Brookford Farm
Fruits and Veggies - Heirloom Tomatoes from Five College Farms; Baby Green and Red Leaf Lettuces from Little Leaf Farm; Potatoes, Purple Top Turnips, Parsnips and Carrots from Brookford Farm; Pink Lady Apples from Apex Farm
Grain - Garlic Casarecce from Nella Pasta
Special Treats - Baklava from Vasiliki
Spicy Treat - Da Lat mix from Curio Spice Co.
Pescatarian - Cusk Filets and Monkfish Cheeks from Red's Best
Classic Beef Stew: Erin's Mom is Beef Stew Ninja. Every time we try to replicate it ourselves it falls short of her perfection. We turned to her for advice. "My only tip for beef stew is that I cook it on the stove top, I don't put it in the oven. I feel like the meat cooked in the oven tastes dry. Beef stew also requires a carb to soak up the sauce. I'm a fan of dumplings but also crusty bread, even rice or pasta. Also, I add a whole onion with 2 cloves stuck in it while the stew is simmering and fish it out at the end. Sometimes I add a splash of wine or the liquid from canned tomatoes.. it's such a pleasant dish you can add whatever you have on hand." That's four tips, Mom, but we love 'em.
Boeuf Bourguignon: This is a serious labor of love, and will require a few more pantry items than the less intense (still bodacious!) recipe above. It calls for a medium bodied red wine to simmer the beef in. When Erin assumed it had to be Burgundy wine, her Mom corrected her that "It's not named after Burgundy wine but rather the region.. Small technical difference." To get in the mood for tackling this labor of love, we suggest pouring a glass of wine and cozying up to this compilation of Julia Child's Best Moments.
Da Lat Beef Stew: We have heard from Claire that the beef could go beautifully with roasted root veggies in the Da Lat rub. Pat the beef dry rub with the spices and start your sear from there. Whereas other recipes call for tomatoes, if you are using the rub omit them. Keep the beef broth and continue from there.
Desperation Carbonara: If you're a bacon addict and the notion of a meat-less carbonara sends shivers up your spine, we hear that. Just skip ahead. For the vegetarians, we were wondering if we could offer up a meat-less carbonara recipe and suggest that the vegan bacon could crumble nicely on top for an additional bite of flavor. Let us know that you think!
Fish Stew: The cusk and the monkfish are dying to be a part of a stew. This recipe is short, sweet and totally flexible. If you have white wine, use it. If you prefer to omit it and pour it right into your glass- go for it, Hero. We support you.
Lamb and Pasta: Ground lamb is chock-a-block full of flavor and is just drying to be paired with your garlicky pasta from Nella. We couldn't decide between Lamb Bolongnese and this simple lamb tomato pasta. We'll let you decide.
TIPS AND TRICKS
Playing Patty Cake with your Meat:
Before you sear or brown your meat, most recipes will tell you to pat the meat dry. But why? The Kitchn tell us why: "Searing meat is 100% about building flavor. And oh, what flavor it is! When that meat hits a scorching hot pan, the surface instantly begins caramelizing. In your stew or braise or roast, this translates into the kind of deep, savory flavor that we crave on an almost a cellular level. This is the flavor that makes us want to lick our plates clean. No sear, no plate-licking good times. Here's how to do it."