Making this week’s Cook the Book Fridays recipe, Belgian Beef Stew with Beer & Spice Bread, was like taking an olfactory journey of delightful smells.
It started the day I made the Honey-Spice Bread. The spicy aroma that wafted out the oven lingered in the house all evening, causing me to not stop thinking about eating a piece of that bread. When Mr. Lebovitz says “If possible, wait a day before slicing”, I thought he meant, “if you planned ahead, wait a day before slicing”. But really he meant, “if you can manage not to tear into the bread as soon as it’s out of the pan because it smells so heavenly”! I did manage to wait until lunchtime the next day before having a slice, and my patience was rewarded with a chewy, tasty, spicy slice of bread.
Next on the journey was the smell of browning beef. I have always loved the smell of browning stew meat, and it always takes me back to childhood. I remember the smell of browning meat coming from the kitchen and wishing I could eat it right then and there. The smell makes me feel safe and warm.
After browning the beef came the smell of browning onions and bacon. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love the smell of bacon!
Of course all those aromatic scents came together for a long simmer, along with some beer and mustard, making me SO ready for dinner by the time it hit the plate. The flavor did not disappoint!
The addition of the Honey-Spice Bread to the stew gave it a wonderful, unique flavor and thickened it up nicely. It contrasted nicely with the beer.
We really must discuss the Honey-Spice Bread. It was wonderful on its own and I will certainly be making it again. It makes a nice breakfast or snack, as well as an accompaniment to savory main dishes.
The recipes for the stew and bread can be found on pages 198 and 294 of David Lebovitz’s book My Paris Kitchen.
Have a wonderful weekend!