It's snowing outside like crazy, but I don't mind. Safely tucked inside, I'm busy preparing for the New Year, and in good Dutch fashion that means copious amounts of fried food. It's as if we're trying to ring in the New Year while slipping and sliding down Saturation lane, straight into a new decade!
These fried foods are not making any dents in my freezer space but I have to eat dinner as well so I've pulled a package that contains a pound of stew meat. It's the last of the beef from a Hereford steer I kept for a short while. I've set it in a marinade early this morning and, this afternoon, it will sit easy and quietly simmering on the back of the stove. Gotta love a meal that practically takes care of itself during these busy days!
I'm making Zuurvlees, a tangy beef stew from the south of the Netherlands. It's traditionally made with horse meat and appelstroop but I'm sticking to beef. It's a great dish to use cheaper cuts of beef that need some extra "lovin'" on the stove to become tender and tasty.
1 lb of beef, cubed
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
2 cups of apple cider vinegar
2 cups of water
2 bay leaves
5 black pepper corns
2 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of brown sugar*
1 tablespoon of flour
1/4 cup of water
Put the beef in a container, place the slices of onion on top and cover with the vinegar and the water. Add two bay leaves, the peppercorns and the two cloves, cover and marinate for at least four hours, but preferably overnight.
Separate the meat from the marinade. Pat it dry with a paper towel, melt the butter in a Dutch oven and brown the meat. Drain the onions and cook with the meat until they're opaque, then add the marinade and the spices. Stir in the brown sugar. Bring back to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the meat is tender.
Mix the flour with the water and stir little by little into the juices in the pan, so that it thickens like gravy. Serve with mashed potatoes and sweet peas, or over a plate of French fries.
*If you happen to have appelstroop, add a tablespoon of it instead of the brown sugar. You can then use white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar.