My First (No…Second) Thought

On Saturday night, instead of going out to see and be seen, Scott and I chose to stay inside.  Let’s face it, with the week we’ve had, it sounded like a dream to us.  I had a lovely rib eye steak chilling in the refrigerator that was destined for dinner, but frankly, preparing and eating just a steak did not sound like fun to me.  What then, should emerge from my kitchen to fill our bellies on a Saturday night?  Well, stew, of course!

We’re finally hitting the chilly weather here in the Midwest.  No longer the gorgeous and golden autumn, but not quite the brutal and gray winter.  We’re somewhere, floating in the middle of “heavy jacket and scarf” weather.  My solution for weather like this leans toward soups (you know that), so ribeye and root vegetable stew was an obvious choice.  AND…my pantry was already stocked with the necessary ingredients!  It was kismet.

I know, I know, a rib eye steak is not a cut usually associated with stew due to the price tag, but it’s all we had and I wanted to give it a shot.  In a hot skillet, I seared it off for a few minutes on each side and then set it aside to rest.  In the same pan, I added (you guessed it!) bacon and let that render down for a bit. 

After the bacon was set aside (but not forgotten), I threw in a chopped onion and some minced garlic and let them sizzle in the rendered bacon fat for awhile, then added a little olive oil and a tablespoon or two of flour.  After the mixture had turned a lovely golden brown, I poured in a good glug of red wine and scraped up all the lovely brown and flavorful bits.

Then, the best part happened: I was able to combine in a soup pot the onion/garlic roux, the root vegetables, stock, and the steak (which I had cut into pieces).  I brought it to a boil, then reduced it to a simmer and, wait for it…walked away.

After about 40 minutes, I added a bit of my not-so-secret ingredient, aged balsamic vinegar.  I let it simmer for a few more minutes, and the result?  A gorgeous, flavorful, velvety rib eye stew.  Perfect for a not quite winter night.


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