This chocolate red wine beef stew is thick, hearty and the perfect thing to warm you up on a cold winter’s day.
We’ve admitted defeat on the whole house selling thing. The contract we had on the house we were going to buy is now off, our deposit being refunded to us and while there’s still 2 months left on our contract with our realtor to sell this place, we’ve just decided to stay put.
So naturally that meant spending the entire weekend getting started on the “ok, we’re not moving so here’s everything we want to change about this house” list.
Project #1: the downstairs half bathroom
There was nothing really wrong with this bathroom. It was yellow, small and served it’s purpose but ever since I jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon a few months ago, I had way higher hopes for this space. Hopes that included a soft turqoise greenish color, buying old wooden crates off craigslist to turn into wood plank mason jar art and almost-divorce inducing beadboard installation.
The painting went down as well as it could when you’re dealing with a space so small that the ladder you need to reach the ceiling takes up literally the entire room and therefore maneuvering around more closely resembles an orangutan in a zoo cage than a human as you swing from one side of the ladder to the top of the toilet over to the other side, but it kept things interesting. The craigslist venture was relatively tame considering what craigslist ventures can be. Although, I do seriously wonder what these people got delivered to their house to result in the massive amounts of wooden crates they had in their garage. My guess is either an entire kitchen’s worth of appliances or dead bodies. The beadboard though, that’s where I’m pretty sure Ulysses was seriously questioning his decision to marry me. A room that can’t be more than 20 square feet took an entire day to install beadboard thanks to a toilet and a sink that had to be cut around. First there was deep breathing. I was baking cookies at this point and questioning whether he was installing paneling or doing yoga in the bathroom. Next, were the curses. When a sink starts getting called “a piece of shit motherfucker bitch”, you know things are getting bad. 10 minutes after the name calling, he walks out of the bathroom straight into the family room and just lies down on the floor. I asked if he was hurt and got no response which is when I walked away thinking it might be best to get out of his sight at this point.
A good wife probably would’ve made this stew for her husband who spent his entire weekend redoing a perfectly good bathroom because she’s now Pinterest obsessed. But reality is that I ordered a buffalo chicken pizza that we scarfed down in about 5 minutes. Some days I’m on my A game. Unfortunately, beadboard installation day wasn’t one of them.
- 1½ pounds beef stew meat
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon flour
- salt & pepper
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, chopped
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon allspice
- 1 cup beef broth
- ½ cup red wine
- dash hot sauce
- 8 ounces dark beer
- 1½ ounces dark chocolate (70% or above), chopped
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 4 potatoes
- In a large dutch oven, add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium high heat.
- Toss the beef cubes with salt & pepper and the flour.
- Brown the meat in the pot and transfer to a plate.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the onions, cook for 5-7 minutes until softened.
- Add the garlic, cook for 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Add the tomato paste and all the spices. Mix together and let cook for a minute.
- Add the red wine and scrape up any bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
- Add the hot sauce, beer and broth and return the beef to the pot.
- Add the chocolate and brown sugar and stir until melted.
- Bring the stew to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook covered for 1 hour.
- After an hour, remove the cover, stir and continue cooking for another hour with the lid off until the stew thickens and reduces.
- While the stew finishes cooking, heat the oven to 375 degrees, wrap each potato in foil and bake.
- Remove the potatoes from the oven after an hour, slice the tops off and scoop out a bit of the center. Spoon the stew into the potato, top with cheddar, cilantro, sour cream and/or yogurt.