papersynthesis ~ handmade paper items & prints ~ florence, italy ~ Lisa McGarry



© 2011 Lisa McGarry                                                                                        ../Lisa_McGarry/lisa-mcgarry.com_HOME.htmlshapeimage_2_link_0








I usually like to photograph ingredients before they begin the transformation into meals, but I forgot today. This image was taken just after I added the water, so the purple & orange of the onions & carrots aren’t quite as striking.


Brown the beef  in a puddle of olive oil, stirring often (use a fairly small, heavy-bottomed pot). Once it’s browned, sprinkle with salt & add the garlic. Lightly smash the peppercorns with a mortar & pestle, then distribute through the beef (today I used coriander-‘corns’). Add the wine or other liquid (today I used a little ‘Pasta AL POMODORO’  sauce I had left-over from yesterday’s lunch, to which I added some water & a splash of balsamic vinegar). Stir, cover & allow to simmer on the lowest heat possible.

Warm a few spoonfuls of olive oil in a wide (~10-inch) pot as you begin chopping the vegetables. Add these to the pan as they’re ready, but give each addition a chance to cook before adding the next one: first garlic; then the red onion; next, the carrots; and finally, the potatoes & herbs. After the vegetables have had a chance to sauté/soften in the oil for a little while, season with generous grindings of salt & pepper, cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat & simmer, uncovered, for about 40 minutes (until the vegetables are cooked through).

After three hours or so, the beef should be fork-tender; break it up a bit with a flat-edged wooden spoon. Rewarm the vegetables, then add the meat and let the flavors mingle until you’re ready to serve (30 minutes minimum is preferable; the stew will always taste better the next day).            Serves 4-6.../Recipes/Villa_Boccella_Cooking_Class.htmlshapeimage_4_link_0


For the meat pot:
1 lb of beef, cut into chunks
3/4 cup of red wine, balsamic vinegar or other liquid
1 tsp peppercorns (or coriander) + salt
2 cloves of garlic

For the vegetable pot:
Olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, peeled & lightly cracked
2  red onions, peeled & chopped
6 carrots, peeled & chopped
6 potatoes, peeled & chopped
A few sprigs of herbs (thyme/rosemary/sage)

Stew Weather

This must be the sunniest November I have ever seen in Florence, which is certainly making it easier to accept the ever-shortening days. Blue skies in autumn & winter often mean lows hovering near zero degrees Celsius, so it’s definitely cold enough to enjoy stew. Today I thought I’d share the (very adaptable) ‘recipe’ that I have developed as a guideline. It’s nice served with a crusty country loaf & a simple green salad.

wedges, slices & chunks

I think it’s nice to have a range of different shapes & sizes in a stew (or  soup). For this stew I like to cut the red onions into wedges & then halve those; they will further break down as the stew cooks. After peeling the carrots, I slice them lengthwise (so they have a flat surface that will brown more easily), & then chop the long halves into chunks. I cut the potatoes into bite-sized pieces.

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