Sunday night's dinner was great! All of us LOVED Tim's beef stew. The rosemary twigs are a key element! It really is a powerful, rich flavored stew that was addictive. Surprisingly, the garlic isn't a key element...
Page 213 "Jamie's Italy:"
"This is an amazingly powerful old Tuscan dish. Don't be put off by the amount of garlic (20 cloves!!) and pepper-it's no hotter than a mild curry, and has a fantastic flavor. Try cooking it overnight in a low oven and it will be melting soft and delicious by morning. It's also known as the "hunter's brunch," as it's great hearty food after a morning spent hunting. When eaten on bruschette, it's energy on toast!"
5 1/2 lb. beef or veal shin, on the bone (dh used ribeye)
20 garlic cloves, peeled
4 heaping tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
5 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 bottles of Chianti or other fruit red wine
2 bay leaves
"Slice your meat into chunky slabs and get it all off the bone. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Get yourself a large pan, just enough to hold all the ingredients. Place a layer of your sliced meat at the bottom of the pan, cover with a few whole cloves of garlic, then sprinkle well with one of your tablespoons of pepper and a little salt. Add a sprig or two of rosemary, then repeat with another layer of beef and keep layering the ingredients like this until they're used up and the pot is almost full. Pour wine over the top, add the bone and the bay leaves, and top up with water if necessary to cover the meat.
Bring to a boil, cover tightly with a double-thickness layer of aluminum foil, and place in the preheated oven for 6 hours or until tender. If you want to cook the stew overnight (as many Italians do), lower the oven temp to 275 degrees F and it can cook for 8 hours or more, until the meat is tender and falling apart. Make sure the foil is well sealed, as this will keep all the moisture inside the pot.
When the stew's done, take the foil off, skim off any fat from the surface of the stew, and remove the bone, the bay leaves, and the rosemary twigs. The meat should be really soft and the juice light but rich and powerful in flavor. Taste and season if you think it needs it. Then break the meat up with a spoon and serve a ladleful of the stew on a hot toasted bruschetta with a drizzle of oil-a wonderful warming brunch on a cold winter's morning. Or serve simply with boiled carrots, new potatoes, and a cavolo or kale as a more complex dinner. Would also be lovely with some polenta and a drizzle of good-quality extra virgin olive oil."
As great as the dinner was, the time with the kids was even better. We hadn't seen them all since the day before Christmas. Although I miss the presence of my two absent sons, having their girls with us is like having a part of them and for that I am so very grateful!