Sense of Home Kitchen
Despite the absolutely beautiful, mild, winter it is not going to completely give up without a fight. We are under a blizzard warning starting later this afternoon and continuing through tomorrow. Eight to twelve inches are forecast and that added to the more than six inches over the past weekend means we have gone from a brown winter to a white one. I didn't mind the brown winter at all, we could travel around without giving it a second thought. Now we are back to watching the skies to determine whether or not we should head out of town. Today the skies said to stay put and cook, I obeyed and made several dishes.
I have actually been doing a lot of cooking lately, so I have several recipes and photos to post, but very little time to do so. My focus has changed, or perhaps I have become more focused on what is important and I have not taken the time to write as much as I had been. I am still cooking and developing recipes and will still post them (eventually!), but it may be mostly photos and recipes, and it may go in streaks. I still want to keep a record and collection of my recipes and thoughts about them, I could continue to write the recipes in notebooks as I had done for years (I am now up to 5 notebooks), but I like having the photos to go with the recipe and I like the index so that I can locate a recipe easily. So, for now, I plan to continue to place recipes of dishes I have made on this site with a few notes of what I thought of the recipe and perhaps what was happening in my life at that particular time.
This ragout (pronounced ra-goo) is a perfect wintry day dish. The sweet potatoes add just the right amount of sweetness to balance the acidic tomatoes. A hearty red Zinfandel is bold enough to challenge the tomato and beef flavors. I was never sure if I was buying sweet potatoes or yams at the store because they would be labeled yams one time and sweet potatoes another and yet they would look the same. I did a quick search on the Internet and found this Bon Appétit page and this Huffington Post article that cleared up my confusion. It seems that the U.S. often mislabels sweet potatoes as yams and that those "yams" I have been eating are actually orange-fleshed sweet potatoes. These photos are a bit washed out looking, but make no mistake this is a very bold and hearty stew.
Beef and Tomato Ragout with Sweet Potatoes
~from the Sense of Home Kitchen, adapted from a 2001 Bon Appétit recipe~
2 pounds 1-inch pieces trimmed boneless beef stew meat
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups red Zinfandel
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup (or more) water
1 tablespoons dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/4 pounds orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup Creme Fraiche or sour cream
Place beef in a medium bowl and sprinkle with flour, toss to coat. Shake off excess flour and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Melt butter with oil in a heavy large pot over high heat. Working in batches, so as to not over crowd the meat and steam it, add beef and sauté until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer to a bowl. Add onions and celery to the pot; sauté until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Return beef to pot. Add wine and bring to a boil, scrapping up the browned bits. Boil until liquid is reduced by about half, about another 5 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce, 1 cup water and dried parsley, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for approximately 40 minutes, adding more water if the stew becomes too thick.
Stir in cubed sweet potatoes and salt and pepper to taste, simmer for another 40 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add creme fraiche (or sour cream) and cinnamon. Warm to a simmer (careful not to boil) and serve with a thick slice of homemade bread.
Sense of Home Kitchen / Recipes / Beef / Stews