Mel’s Diner

Sharp Knives, Raw Meat and Fire


Ani the foodiechickie is hosting this months WCC and, bless her beautiful soul, she has chosen Nigella Lawson.  I love Nigella.  I love reading her, I especially love watching her and her Chocolate Cake I made was outrageous.  Just after Christmas I bought her book, How To Eat and I’ve been reading it ever since.  And this is the first recipe I have made.

Beef Stew With Anchovies And Thyme

  • 3 Tbls. Olive Oil, plus more if needed
  • 3 1/2 pounds Stew Meat
  • 1 Large Onion, finely sliced
  • 5 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 3 Medium Carrots, Peeled and cut into fat matchsticks
  • 4 Inner Stalks Celery, finely sliced
  • 6 Anchovy Fillets, minced
  • 2 Tbls. Dried Thyme or 1 1/2 Tbls. fresh
  • 2 Tbls. Marsala
  • 2 Cups Red Wine
  • 1 1/4 Cups Beef Stock
  • 2 Heaping Tbls. Flour
  • 1 Tbls. Paste
  • 1/2 tsp. Mace
  • Black Pepper and Salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Put a casserole on the stove with oil.  Heat and then brown the meat briskly in batches; do not overcrowd the casserole or the meat will steam rather than sear.  Remove the meat to a plate and then, first adding more oil if necessary, toss in the vegetables, anchovies and thyme.  Cook, turning frequently, on medium heat for about 10 minutes or until the mixture is beginning to soften,  While this is going on, heat the Marsalla, wine, and the stock in a saucepan and remove when it reaches boiling point.

Return the beef to the pan and then stir in the flour.  After a couple of minutes or so, pour in the wine mixture and stir well, then stir in the tomato paste and then the mace and some pepper.  Taste and add salt, if necessary.

Put on lid and then cook in the preheated oven for 3 hours.  Remove, cool, and then keep in the fridge until needed.

 Beef Stew With Anchovies and Mace

I used only two pounds of stew meat and because I didn’t have any beef stock, I was going to use water a la Ruhlman.  But, I used my roasted chicken stock instead and I don’t think it suffered.  I tried the stew right before I put it in the oven and it was a wall of mace.  I mean, it wasn’t really good at all.  After it came out, I tried it again.  Much, much better.  It was still very mace-y, but better.  Also, I can’t taste the anchovies.  I know that’s the idea, but still, I’d like to know they’re in there. Nigella says it’s definitely a next day dish, so I’ll report back after that.  Right now, I would say only 1/4 tsp. of mace would be right.  Other than that, the stew is excellent. I was afraid it was going to be very wine-y, but it was just rich.  Very good sauce and just what I would want in a beef stew.

Update:  As I feared, the stew was too mace-y.  1/2 tsp. is too much, way too much.  1/4 to 1/8 would be just right.  I think the mace is a good addition, but use VERY judiciously.  I’m afraid to say, I won’t be eating this as made.  Oh, well – I still love her.

Double Update:  I made this again in a crockpot and used a LOT less mace and it was outragous!  Go here for the post. 


February 3, 2008 - Posted by | Main Dish, Recipe, Weekend Cookbook Challenge

1 Comment »

  1. Love your picture, it looks delicious. I received Nigella Express for Christmas, which I’ve cooked out of twice. I think Feast is her best book.

    Comment by Sara | February 5, 2008 | Reply

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