For Christmas my brother in law gave me The Flavor Bible off my Amazon wish list. It's not a cookbook but rather it gives ideas on different flavors to combine when cooking if you don't necessarily want to follow a recipe. It gives a main ingredient and then lists flavors that are compatible. Some of the compatible flavors are ones that you wouldn't think of like beef and coffee. I've been experimenting a lot lately with different flavor combinations with success and a few failures.
I decided to create some beef stew last week and I must say it turned out much better than I expected! I didn't measure anything but I thought I'd share with you what I did and guess at the amounts.
Coffee Beef Stew
In a large soup pot heat 2-3 T of olive oil very hot. Heat cubed beef, about 1 heaping cup, until cooked through. Remove from pot. Heat 2-3 T more of olive oil. Add 2-3 cups of diced vegetables. I used carrots, celery, onions and potatoes. Cook until browned. Return meat to the pot. Sprinkle 1/2 to 1 cup of flour, 1-2 t. salt, 1 t pepper, 1/2 t. cinnamon, 1/4 t. cloves. Stir until vegetables are completely covered, keep stirring for about a minute. Pour 1/2 c. coffee and beef broth to cover vegetables by about an inch. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste. Cornstarch can be added if the stew isn't thick enough.
The stew with the cloves and cinnamon felt as though it left a slightly warm sensation after you were done with the meal. It was a nice feeling for a cold winter day.
It's been fun trying to create my own dishes without referring to a recipe. Well, except for the caramel pecan sauce I was trying to make that came out a giant clump of burnt sugar....sigh, you can't learn without a few failures right?