Ragout of Beef Ticino

December 18, 2007

Adapted from Perla Meyer’s The Seasonal Kitchen: A Return to Fresh Foods, widely-available but out-of-print. This book is inspired and organized by the seasons. What makes this stew particularly marvelous is the addition of sour cream and dill. (Note: If you make this stew a day ahead of time, only add these last two ingredients just before serving).

Serve 6-8

3 lbs. beef chuck, cut into 2-in. cubes
1 Tbls. unsalted butter
2 Tbls. olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 lg. onions, finely chopped
2 lg. garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tsp. paprika
2 Tbls. tomato paste
1 tsp. fresh marjoram or oregano
2 lbs. fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbls.fresh dill, chopped plus a few sprigs for garnishing
1 cup sour cream (or substitute plain yogurt)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pat dry the meat with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large, ovenproof pot, melt butter and oil. Add a few pieces of meat, but do not overcrowd the pan. Saute the meat (on all sides) until they are evenly browned. Remove and set aside. Continue process with the rest of the meat.

Remove all meat from pot. Add onions and garlic and saute until tender, but not browned. Add paprika, tomato paste, and marjoram or oregano.

Return meat to pot. Combine well with onion mix. Add mushrooms. (Do not add any liquid because the mushroom juices will release enough moisture to braise the beef). Cover tightly and place in preheated oven for two hours.

Mix chopped dill and sour cream together and stir it into prepared beef. Taste for seasoning. Serve garnished with sprigs of dill over cooked rice.

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