I am known to do what I call “pressure buying.” I see the chuck in the store, and I buy the beef thinking, “My child needs beef. My husband has been looking for beef since Christmas.” I am cranky, I am tired, I am terrible at helping with homework and don’t even break out of the blocks for creating a romantic atmosphere in the quiet of the evening (I’m sleeping.) There is nothing fetching in the way I put the pencil in my hair and I have removed the privilege of watching PG movies and Dino Strike for a month. I worry about my popularity rating. With high hopes, I throw the beef in the basket.
By the time stew meat is in the fridge it can easily slide from salvation to ball and chain, doubling guilt when it gets buried in the trash, raw.
Try taking it on in three parts. When you’re putting together bowls of cereal or fried eggs for dinner the night before, brown the meat with an onion cut in half,a bay leaf and half a piece of bacon. Then cook it through by covering it with chicken stock and simmering for as long as it takes to lose the pink. Refrigerate. Next day, throw it on a flame with a cover and simmer it for an hour and a half.
Third day (or if you did part two in the morning of the second day, you can do part three at night): saute an onion, and a minced clove of garlic with a few sprigs of thyme, a little chopped parsley. When the onion is completely and devistatingly delicious, add the beef with the stock, and a good pour of red wine. Simmer with a piece of parchment right up against the beef and liquid and then the lid set ajar. Peel some potatoes and get them going in salted water that has a hunk of butter in it. Drain well, season with salt and pepper and a few leaves of fresh tarragon. O h b a b y.