As a child in my hometown of Upper Black Eddy, the smell of wood smoke filled the air as the weather turned bitterly cold and like always, as the season change, so do my cravings, and theres nothing like my mom's cooking. My all time favorite meal she makes is her fall stew. I would come home cold and hungry after school and a big bowl of stew would always set me right. Obviously this dish is super sentimental for me but it is also a big hit with my friends. It is a very basic and simple stew but has great depth of flavor is easy to whip up and perfect for cold weather. I hope this becomes a favorite in your family too.
BY BEA BRIGGS This is an excellent flexible recipe. It was given to me by my friend Leila. She had given me a large pot of it right after our first child was born and as exhausted new parents, what a delight it was to open the fridge & find these leftovers. I treasure the scribbled recipe she gave me & I have continued the tradition of giving this to new parents, friends in need & neighbors. But it feeds a crowd of about 6 hungry people, usually with leftovers, so it is great when ever the seasons change!
Momma's Fall Stew
3 pound Brisket (or chuck roast)
6 cups water
1 bottle red wine
1 can tomatoes(12 oz) ( sauce, puree, paste or can )
3-4 onions roughly, chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, chopped
4-6 carrots, chopped into 2 inch discs
1 pound mushrooms(button), quartered
4-6 red potatoes quartered (if small leave whole, be sure all are the same size so they cook evenly)
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
Salt, pepper, herbes, bay leaf, to taste
In a large pot with lid, over medium high heat, add olive oil. Salt & pepper meat well on both sides. Sear in pot, on both sides & remove from pot. Add chopped onions & garlic to the pot & saute until golden. Return meat back to pot and add water, wine and tomatoes, being sure that the meat is covered. Add bay leaf & favorite herbs such as herbes de provence e or a basil/oregano mix. Season wtih salt pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low simmer. You can also put in oven at 350, if your pot is oven proof. Cook for one hour. Remove meat & slice into 1/4 inch long slices. Return meat to pot and add carrots, mushrooms & potatoes. Cover and cook for an additional hour on low heat. Taste and add more salt & pepper, if needed.
As you can tell this is a very flexible recipe. The measurements are not exact, if you like more wine, I have added a whole bottle, sometimes I have used just water & tomato sauce. Other times water, wine & a little tomato. So what ever you have on hand will make the liquid ( I have even used V-8 juice). The acid in the wine & tomato helps break down the meat. You just want the meat to be covered by liquid. This was traditionally made with 1st cut brisket, which has more fat running through it & made a nice roast out of a cheaper piece of meat. If you like carrots more than mushrooms add more, ditto with potatoes. This is a pretty fail proof recipe, so after you make it a few times you get it. Use what you have & like. It gets better each day, as the flavors work. I like to serve it with green beans or sautéed kale and don't forget the sour cream!