Subtly Spicy, Softly Hot, Slightly Sweet Beef Stew is a mouthful as a recipe title and gives a little hint that it’s not just a straightforward beef stew we’re talking about here. On the one hand, it’s a classic beef stew, marinated overnight and cooked low and slow. Then Dorie adds ingredients she happened to have in her fridge and pantry when developing the recipe that she thought would work here (good for her as I don’t think I’d look at this combo and figure it would… gochujang, soy sauce, star anise, and fresh cranberries). I was dubious when I was making this and didn’t really know if these would come together or not.
Typically, one can trust Dorie (though some of the “on-hand ingredients” in Everyday Dorie aren’t exactly what I’d call common for many people nor are they ones I’d use in an “everyday” recipe. On that note, I bookmarked this to make on a Monday night, thinking a beef stew would yield excellent lunch leftovers for the rest of the week. In fact, the recipe calls for the beef to marinate overnight and then cook for 2+ hours. Ok, then. Pizza it was that night and the stew got an extra night to marinate… Didn’t figure it would do any harm. Lesson: read the recipe (and maybe trust your instincts that the marinade time might not need to be so long…) – this one had a marinade, a long slow cook time and a gremolata to serve on top (some citrus, some scallions, some cilantro, ginger, and garlic). So make sure you plan ahead.
After I marinated, I strained off the broth and stored it separately in the fridge for a couple of days (Dorie suggests freezing this to help separate the fat to make it easier to skim off) and reheated everything gently and even not using all the broth, it still felt a little more like a soup than a stew. I had some mushrooms on hand in the fridge so added them and I left in the veggies I had previously strained out to try to “beef” it up a bit…
I ended up using most of the broth in the end as, while the beef wasn’t dry itself, the dish felt a little bit dry (the best thing about a stew is the juices you mop up with a fresh baguette!). I also ended up thickening the sauce with a little cornstarch…
For a beef stew, this is a lot of work and involves lots of different ingredients. I was worried about some of the less common flavours taking over here but in the end, none of them stood out more than another. It was “nice enough” but I dont know I’d make this over another more conventionally-flavoured stew (especially on a weeknight!).
Get the recipe for Dorie Greenspan’s Subtly Spicy, Softly Hot, Slightly Sweet Beef Stew on p 149 of Everyday Dorie or here.
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Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of “Everyday Dorie” for review purposes. I was not asked to write about the book, nor am I being compensated for doing so. All opinions 100% my own.
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