We try not to go out out too terribly often, even though we love it. We love dates and good food and spending time together. And good food. And some more good food. And dates.
So why not bring date night home from time to time?
Date night food doesn’t have to be super-fancy or foreign or girly. Oh, I like all of the above foods, but ladies, come on, wouldn’t your man (well, most men I know anyway) just turn into goo if he walked in to a big ol’ bowl of beef stew for date night at home?
Heck, I’d turn into goo, too! Especially for this beef stew. This one is a little special. It’s a little tiny bit fancy, but still stew. I saw a chef make it on television (yes, yes, I watch too much food TV) and had to try my hand at it. Now, it’s a staple on our menu.
Judge not, before you try it. I know the combination sounds a bit strange. But it really is oh so delectable.
A couple of notes:
If you don’t have fresh herbs, a heaping teaspoon each of dried does just fine.
I use arrowroot powder instead of flour to coat the meat and as a thickener, but you can use whatever your little heart desires. Though I could probably use my quinoa flour too. Or oat flour. Hmmm, must try that next time…
If you use a “cooking wine” version of Marsala, check the label for salt content. Wines labeled “cooking wine” often have salt added, up to a teaspoon per 8 ounces. If you are using a “cooking wine”, you do not need to add salt to the recipe. Trust me. Even my salt-fiend of a husband acknowledges this.
And now wine aficionados everywhere are clutching their hair and wailing in agony because I told you to use “cooking wine”.
Bah. I’m on a budget. They can wail all they want. I use the cheap stuff. Plus, I can get the cheap stuff at Wal-Mart (it’s with the fancy balsamic vinegars and things of the like on the condiment aisle). One less stop for me! And I don’t have to show my ID.
Now, the stew.
The bonus to this stew is that it makes your entire house smell incredible. Whenever I make this stew, my husband inhales deeply and then sighs in contentment as he walks in the door after work. The herbs, the Marsala…it’s a beautiful thing when it happens.
It starts with the onion, garlic, and herbs.
At this point, the aroma begins to waft through the main living area.
When you add the Marsala, after browning the beef, the scent reaches the second floor.
After everything has been combined and allowed to simmer for a while, it has even permeated the garage and overcome the stench of oil and exhaust.
Okay, maybe not. But it comes close.
Serve it in your pretty bowls – you know, the ones you got as wedding presents that stay put away unless it’s a holiday because you would have a conniption if they got broken.
And sprinkle fresh parsley on top for a little splash of green.
Get out the nice wine glasses and a beverage that comes in a tall glass bottle (sparkling juice, whatever floats your boat). Light some candles. Put on some Norah Jones music.
Oh, and take off your apron so he can actually see the cute outfit you made the effort to put on.
Unless you’re me, and you’ve spent the entire day in your pajama pants and ran upstairs to throw on some jeans and a t-shirt right before your husband walks in the door. Then you can leave the apron on.
But once he gets his hands on this stew, he probably won’t care if you’re wearing your lazy jeans and slippers or a Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress and stilettos.
Not that I have a Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress.
Not that I would wear it to make stew if I did.
Oh, whatever. You get the point. Schedule date night. Make this stew. The End.