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From Thomas of Maryland, 10-03-2004
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Msg ID 3126297
Woodsy Beef Stew *Brilliant and Woodsy*

This recipe has multiple layers of flavor: woodsy porcini mushrooms, hickory-smoked bacon, and slow-simmered beef, to name a few.

1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms*
3/4 cup water (very hot)
6 slices hickory-smoked bacon, chopped
2 pounds beef chuck (trimmed of fat), in 1-1/2-inch cubes
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups beef broth
1 cup red wine
6 large fresh thyme sprigs
2 strips orange zest (1x3-inches each)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 pounds tiny new potatoes, peeled
1 pound carrots, peeled/cut into chunks

*For more mushroom flavor, also add 1 pound sliced, sauteed mushrooms at the time you add the potatoes and carrots.

In a glass measuring cup, soak the mushrooms in the water until soft, 20 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the liquid and chop, setting them aside. Strain the liquid into a small bowl and set aside.

In a 5-quart Dutch oven over medium heat, brown the bacon until crisp and golden, 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Spoon off and set aside all but 1 tablespoon of the fat.

Working in batches without crowding the pan, add the beef and cook, turning often, to brown all the pieces. Remove the pieces as they brown, adding the reserved fat as necessary to keep the meat from sticking to the pan.

When all the meat is browned, stir the flour into the pan and cook 1 minute (the mixture will be dry). Add the broth, wine, and reserved mushroom liquid, stirring until boiling and thickened.

Reduce the heat to low and return the beef and bacon to the pan. Add the thyme, orange zest, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer until the beef is tender, 2 hours.

Add the potatoes (you may use larger potatoes cut into chunks in you prefer), carrots, and reserved mushrooms.

Cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove and discard the orange zest and thyme sprigs before serving.

Makes 6 servings
Source: Brilliant Food Tips and Cooking Tricks by David Joachim

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