In a culture where fast food sometimes isn't fast enough, Scott Hutcheson suggests bucking the trend completely by embracing the "slow food" movement, at least some of the time.
"Spending a few hours in the kitchen on a Saturday or Sunday may seem like a big commitment but the results can really pay off," he says. "Not just for Sunday dinner, but in the leftovers that can be creatively used the next couple of nights."
2 pounds beef stew meat (2-inch pieces)?
2 cups dry red wine?
1/4 cup olive oil?
1 onion, chopped?
2 large onions, chopped?
1 clove garlic, chopped?
1 bay leaf?
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped?
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme?
Salt and pepper to taste?
2 slices bacon, cut into very small pieces?
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
The night before you plan on serving this, place the meat, along with all ingredients, except bacon and flour, into a gallon-size zip-lock bag. Place in the refrigerator and, if possible, turn the bag occasionally. The next day, when you are ready to cook, heat a large Dutch oven to medium-high heat, add the bacon and stir until browned. With a slotted spoon remove and set aside the bacon. You should have about two tablespoons of bacon drippings left in the Dutch oven. If not, add some vegetable oil to equal two tablespoons.
Dump into a bowl the contents of the zip local bag. Using tongs pick out the stew meat and add it to the Dutch oven browning the meat on all sides, about five minutes. You may need to brown the meat in a couple of batches. After the meat is browned, use the slotted spoon to remove it. Next add the vegetables (onions and carrots) to the Dutch oven and brown them. This too should take about five minutes. Add the flour and stir until it begins to brown. Stir in the marinade left in the bowl and bring this to a boil. Next, add back in the beef and the bacon. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until the beef is fork-tender.
This makes about six servings and can be served over noodles, rice, or with potatoes. Add a simple green salad, some crusty bread, and you’ve got a great slow-food meal.