Dutch Oven Meal – Beef Stew and Homemade Bread

February 26th, 2008

I’ve already mentioned I love cooking, and I finally got a Dutch Oven. A heavy, cast-iron pot that provides even heating on the stove or in the oven. Cooks Illustrated recommended Tramontina 6.5 quart as their best buy – and i found it for $60 at target (labeled chefmate caserole dish).

So with this beautiful piece of equipment i made some fresh homemade bread and a hearty beef stew. Both turned out beautifully and to rave reviews of my friends. I’d definitely do the stew again (or slight variation), but the bread was a bit more work than I think necessary – required 2 days of work. Here’s the recipes from cooksillustrated.com and pictures of my final product. Variations: Guineess Beef Stew, Irish Brown Soda Bread.

Hearty Beef Stew

Serves 6 to 8

Make this stew in a large, heavy-bottomed soup kettle measuring at least ten inches in diameter. If the kettle is any smaller, you may need to cook the meat in three batches rather than two.

INGREDIENTS

3 pounds chuck-eye roast , cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium onions , chopped coarse (about 2 cups)
3 medium cloves garlic , minced
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup red wine (preferably full-bodied)
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
6 small boiling potatoes , peeled and halved
4 large carrots , peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 cup frozen peas (6 ounces), thawed
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves

1. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Place beef cubes in large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat in large nonreactive soup kettle; add beef to kettle in two separate batches. Brown meat on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch, adding remaining tablespoon of oil if needed. Remove meat and set aside. Add onions to now empty kettle; sauté until almost softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic; continue to sauté about 30 seconds longer. Stir in flour; cook until lightly colored, 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine, scraping up any browned bits that may have stuck to kettle. Add stock, bay leaves, and thyme; bring to simmer. Add meat; return to simmer. Cover and place in oven; simmer about 1 hour.

2. Remove kettle from oven, add potatoes and carrots, cover, and return to oven. Simmer until meat is just tender, about 1 hour. Remove stew from oven. (Can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated up to 3 days.)

3. Add peas and allow to stand 5 minutes. Stir in parsley, adjust seasonings, and serve.

Almost No-Knead Whole Wheat Bread

Makes 1 large round loaf, 6-8 servings

An enameled cast-iron Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid yields best results, but the recipe also works in a regular cast-iron Dutch oven or heavy stockpot. (See the related information in “Making Your Dutch Oven Safe for High-Heat Baking” for information on converting Dutch oven handles to work safely in a hot oven.) Use a mild-flavored lager, such as Budweiser (mild non-alcoholic lager also works). The bread is best eaten the day it is baked but can be wrapped in aluminum foil and stored in a cool, dry place for up to 2 days.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces), plus additional for dusting work surface
1 cup whole wheat flour (5 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
2 tablespoons honey
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water (7 ounces), at room temperature
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons mild-flavored lager (3 ounces)
1 tablespoon white vinegar

1. Whisk flours, yeast, and salt in large bowl. Stir honey into water, then add water, beer, and vinegar to the dry ingredients. Using rubber spatula, fold mixture, scraping up dry flour from bottom of bowl until shaggy ball forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 18 hours.

2. Lay 12- by 18-inch sheet of parchment paper inside 10-inch skillet and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead 10 to 15 times. Shape dough into ball by pulling edges into middle. Transfer dough, seam-side down, to parchment-lined skillet and spray surface of dough with nonstick cooking spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until dough has doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked with finger, about 2 hours.

3. About 30 minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place 6- to 8-quart heavy-bottomed Dutch oven (with lid) on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. Lightly flour top of dough and, using razor blade or sharp knife, make one 6-inch-long, 1/2-inch-deep slit along top of dough. Carefully remove pot from oven and remove lid. Pick up dough by lifting parchment overhang and lower into pot (let any excess parchment hang over pot edge). Cover pot and place in oven. Reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove lid and continue to bake until loaf is deep brown and instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 210 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Carefully remove bread from pot; transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.


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  1. February 27th, 2008 at 12:04 | #1

    hahaha, I was JUST looking at the ATK’s dutch oven recommendations yesterday. I couldn’t find the Tramontina so I was going to go for the Lodge Logic 7 quart. It’s $100 though. I’ve recently found like 6 recipes I want to try that call for a dutch oven. Also it’s funny to say dutch oven.

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