There was time not terribly long ago when I didn’t know what a Dutch oven was, nor did I understand the love that women had for Le Creuset. To me, Le Creuset was pretty, but horrifically expensive and certainly not necessary in my kitchen. I mean, I’d come this far, did I really need it? I saw my friends run to sales, smile with joy as they ran their fingers across the shiny enameled surface, and giggle at the fun new things they’d cook. It was odd. I didn’t get it.
But then, I cracked. A Le Creuset afficianado and respected friend said that the Natex had the best deals on Le Creuset she’d ever seen, so “you’d better stock up while you’re here.” Meh. I didn’t need it. But…
There was a sale… and it was green. MY green. That beautiful green that you find between the lighter inside and the darker outside of the avocado, the perfect color for crockery, and Volkswagen bugs (IMHO).
So I caved, still clueless as to WHY I needed it, but that if all of my friends loved it AND it was cheapest here, on sale, AND in my absolutely favorite color ever, then I suppose I MUST buy one thing. So I bought the biggest thing they had… a Dutch oven.
No, I still didn’t know I was buying a Dutch oven. To me it was just a big enameled iron pot with a lid, but the beautiful thing about this “ big enameled iron pot with a lid” is that it could move from my stovetop to my oven, the classic characteristic of a Dutch oven.
It sat in my cupboard throughout the rest of our time in Germany. I don’t think I ever used in in Spain either.
But now I have a cow and it seems that many beef recipes like Dutch ovens, so here I go… a newbie Dutch aficionado.
Another delicious dish to use up my plethora of beef cubes, this was perfect for our freezing temperatures and layers of snow and ice. I’ll definitely make it again. The kids loved it and there were no leftovers.
Food Network Kitchens
1. You need a large Dutch oven (hence my soliloquy above) with a tight-fitting lid.
vegetable oil or olive oil
2. Pour enough vegetable oil into your Dutch oven to fill it about 1/4-inch deep, then heat it (without the lid on) over medium-high heat.
1.5 pounds beef cubes
3. Season the beef generously with salt and pepper, then add half of it to the pre-heated oil in the pan. Sauté the meat uncovered, stirring occasionally, until well-browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon to drain of the oil, transfer the meat to a plate.
4. Repeat with the remaining meat.
5. Discard the oil and wipe out the pan.
6. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
2 T. unsalted butter
7. Return the pot to the stove and melt butter over medium-high heat.
2 medium onions, chopped coarsely
8. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
5 cloves of garlic, minced
9. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
1 T. tomato paste
10. Add the tomato paste and stir until lightly browned.
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
11. Add the beef to the vegetable mix in your Dutch oven, then scatter the four over the mixture and cook until lightly toasted.
10 cups water or broth (I used part beef broth and part water)
12. Add water or broth and bring to a simmer.
6 sprigs parsley
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
13. Tie the parsley, thyme, and bay leaves together with a piece of kitchen twine and add to the herb bundle to the pot. (Or, do what I did and just dump a couple teaspoons of dried parsley and thyme to the pot and throw in a couple bay leaves – it was still delicious.)
2 t. salt
14. Season with salt. Cover and transfer to the pre-heated oven. Cook the meat until just tender, about 1 1/2 hours. (This can be done on the stove on a low simmer if you do not have a Dutch Oven.)
15. Remove the pot from the oven, skim the fat from the broth with a ladle.
1 1/4 pounds medium potatoes, chopped into large pieces
4 carrots cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
7 canned whole, peeled tomatoes, lightly crushed
16. Add the potatoes, carrots, celery, and tomatoes and bring to a simmer on top of the stove. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the liquid thickens and the vegetables are tender, about 1 hour.
2-3 t. red wine vinegar
17. Remove and discard the herb bundle (if you used one). Stir in vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve