beef stew and cheddar biscuits

all i have to say is for the past two games (at least) all the "experts" were unanimously picking the giants to lose. not one picked for the giants! as if getting this far was a fluke. and you know what? frick you! because BRING ON THE PATS ... THE GIANTS ARE GOING TO WIN AGAIN!!!!

okay, back to food. so for tonight's game winning dinner, we cooked up some beef stew. wow. i haven't had beef stew since like 20 years ago. and it was great. but you know, honestly ... i think i'm over the meat eating thing. i've only had it for the past month, and probably only maybe 5 or 6 times. but it's kind of making me feel icky. it just doesn't taste pleasurable to me, on my tongue or in my belly. i'm not sure if it's psychological (carcass eating was always a turn off to me) or if because i'm just not used to it anymore. i haven't eaten meat for the vast majority of my adolescent and adult life. it's just not in my taste buds anymore. we'll see what happens.

however, bread is always in my taste buds!! haha. so to go with the stew, i decided on some buttermilk cheddar biscuits. wow. but for a different reason. these were awesome. they didn't brown as much on the top as i would have liked, but damn they tasted good.

buttermilk cheddar biscuits: makes 1 dozen (i made about 30, oops!)
from martha's baking handbook (2005, p. 32)

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tb plus 1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
3 cups (9 oz) grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1 3/4 cup buttermilk, plus more for brushing

1. preheat oven to 375F. in large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. using pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture is coarse crumbs with few large pieces. add cheese and mix in.

first mix

2. pour in buttermilk and fold into dough, incorporating all crumbs, until it just comes together. dough will be sticky; do not overmix.

3. turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. with floured fingers, gently pat dough about 1" thick. do not overwork dough. use 2" round cutter and cut out biscuits.

4. place biscuits about 1" apart on unlined baking sheet. generously brush with buttermilk. bake 18-20 minutes, rotating halfway through, until golden and flecked with brown spots. transfer biscuits to wire rack to cool.

cheddar biscuits

beef stew: serves 6-8

1 1/2 lb chuck steak (on the bone)
6 large carrots, 1" sliced
5 yukon gold potatoes, 1" diced
1 large onion, 1" diced
2 leeks, 1" sliced and cleaned
1 bunch celery, 1" sliced
2 tb tomato paste
1 cup red wine
2 bay leaves
3 garlic cloves
salt + pepper
olive oil
1 package vegetable broth (32 oz)

1. cut beef into 1" cubes; reserve the bone. season the beef with salt and pepper and toss with flour.

2. heat olive oil in large dutch oven or pot at medium high. sear beef cubes in hot oil until it is browned on all sides. more than likely you'll need to do two batches; if you overfill the pot, there won't be enough room and it cools the pot, resulting in less efficient searing.

3. take beef out of pot and drain on paper towel. heat a little more olive oil and add the carrots, celery, onion, and leeks, stirring to coat. add tomato paste, and stir. caramelize all vegetables, about 10 minutes.

the mirepoix plus leeks and paste

4. add wine, reduce by half. add garlic cloves, bay leaves, and broth. add beef and bone back to pot, stir to combine.

5. bring stew to simmer. continue simmering for 2-3 hours, until the beef starts to tenderize. skim throughout as necessary.

6. take out bone, add potatoes, continue simmer until tender, about 1 more hour. you may have to add some water if stew thickens too much. turn off heat and let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

the winning meal to arizona, baby!

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