Saturday 7 April 2012

Two-Burner Tastiness- Shoulder Season Savoury Supper

               "On my own, here we go..."
                                   -Green Day

         Spring and fall can be great seasons for boating.  The casual boaters are hauled out, it's too cold for PWC-bees, and  although wind is colder, it's more consistent.
        But, when it rains, it can be downright miserable.

        Warm food helps.

        Warm food that smells good and tastes better helps a lot.

        Warm food that smells good and tastes better with booze in it is always a winner.

         In other words, stew.

         The problem with stew on board is that it seems like every stew recipe calls for a crock pot, takes all day to cook, serves 30 people with leftovers, or all of the above.

         With a little experimentation, we created this recipe which is relatively quick, serves 2 and requires only one burner.

         Here we go:

        Whiskeyjack Beef Stew

1 pound (454g) beef on sale.  The cheapest cut you can find. Stewing beef not necessary.  I like to use cheap steak.(cut into 1 to 1½ inch cubes)
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium sized onion roughly diced
2 stalks celery, sliced
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tbsp herbs de Provence (or 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp basil, )
1 1/2 cups (.60 L) reduced-sodium beef broth
1/2 small can of  tomato paste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
        1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon sugar
 salt and pepper (or Old Bay) to taste
1 large  potato,  peeled and roughly cubed into bite sized pieces
1 large carrot, chopped, or a half bag of baby carrots.
1 glass of cheap wine, or 1 bottle of cheap beer
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup frozen green peas
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
        2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

        1 tbsp soy sauce

         In a bowl combine the soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce.  Drop in the beef.  Let it marinade.  Drink a beer, or take this time to slice and chop and peel the veggies.  Work slow.  You want the marinade to do it's thing for a while.

        Remove beef from marinade, pat dry and rub in salt and pepper or Old Bay seasoning.  In a medium size pot over medium heat,  add olive oil, then drop in beef.  When beef is browned, remove from pot and pat dry again.

        Add celery, onions, garlic,to pot.
        When veggies begin to soften, add beef marinade to pot.
        . Return beef cubes to pot and stir in herbs de Provence. Toss in the tomato paste, vinegar, bay leaves, sugar, salt, and pepper and booze.   Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour. You want to cook this low and slow, stirring occasionally.  Your boat will start to smell GREAT!

         When a cube of meat is so tender it can be just about pulled apart with a fork, add the potatoes and carrots. Cover and simmer for another 20 minutes to  half hour,  until a potato can be cut with a fork. Mix cornstarch with 2 tbsp water until smooth. Add to stew. Stir well  and continue to cook until stew is bubbly and has thickened. Stir in peas and cilantro and cook just until peas are heated through, just a couple of minutes.

       Serve in bowls, with a basket of biscuits or rough cut baguette for dipping and wiping.




  1. or you can prepare beef in marinade at home the night before, bring to boat in cooler and that part is ready to go! For that matter, you can also pre-chop the veggies the night before and put in sealed plastic bags. Since prep room is limited on-board.

  2. One glass of wine (5 ounces) or one bottle of beer (12 ounces). This doesn't quite seem to match. The proportions of carrots, potatoes, and beef in the picture look right but this doesn't seem to match the text. 1 lb of beef would be about 2 cups of meat. This would be about the same as one large potato when generally you would have twice as much potato as meat. Also, one large carrot would be about half the size of one large potato whereas your ratio is at least 4:1 and probably more like 6:1. Were these numbers written down perhaps after drinking several beers while waiting on the marinade?

    In the marinade only the Worcester sauce is having any effect. Soy sauce doesn't contain any acids and it's the acids that help tenderize the meat. You might add a tablespoon of Italian dressing along with the soy (and then leave out the balsamic vinegar). That would give you 1/4 cup of marinade which is about right for a lb of beef. For 1 inch cubes you would need a good cut of steak (like rib-eye or top loin) to marinate in 30 minutes to an hour. Sirloin takes 2-4 hours while chuck or round steak takes 4-6 hours. Overnight in the refrigerator is not a bad idea.

    Half an hour on carrots seems much too long to me. When I make chicken noodle soup I cook the celery for 15 minutes and the carrots for 7. The soup is ruined if the carrots turn mushy.

    I'm also not sure why you have to pat the meat dry after braising it in olive oil. A tablespoon seems like a lot just for braising; you might try using less. You cook the vegetables in the same pot so presumably you don't want a lot of extra oil. You might consider adding red wine to the meat after braising and let that reduce a bit. I suppose you could do the same with beer or a white wine. I'm not sure why you would use wine or beer elsewhere in the recipe though.

  3. brehm,

    Thanks for the helpful tips. All numbers, measurements and ingredients are the result of repeated preparations and personal preference. Some like lots of potatoes, others don't, for example.You can feel free to modify the recipe to suit your own taste, cooking style and available ingredients.