Monday, January 7, 2013

Jasper’s Tuscan Beef Stew

On December 29th I celebrated a “milestone” birthday. I turned 50. Luckily therapy wasn’t required for me to be able to admit my age. Getting older has never really bothered me since each new decade has proven to be better than the previous one. Still, I find the fact that I’ve lived for 50 years to be a bit mind boggling!

My wonderful, amazing husband, Michael, (also known as The Picky Eater) planned a birthday to remember. He set up a spa afternoon for me at the Argosy Casino Hotel and Spa. I got the works—manicure, pedicure, facial and massage. It was heaven! (As you can see from the photo, the hotel lobby is beautiful.)

For my birthday dinner, Michael took me to Jasper’s, an Italian restaurant that is a Kansas City institution. The kitchen is currently managed by Chef Jasper J. Mirabile, Jr., the son of the founder. I grew up hearing about this place, and I even received the Jasper’s Kitchen Cookbook by Chef Jasper from Andrews McMeel Publishing in 2009 while I was still living in New Hampshire. However I never had the chance to eat at the restaurant. When I moved back to the Midwest, a meal at Jasper’s was on the top of my foodie bucket list.

Jasper's is very “old-school” with white table cloths, silver cutlery, and knowledgeable servers ready to assist you. (They even place your napkin in your lap!) Our server, Chris, took good care of us first-timers.

The meal was wonderful! We started with the table-side mozzarella, where the chef (that evening we were told it was Chef Jasper, III) makes fresh mozzarella at your table and then creates a wonderful salad with it for the appetizer.

For my entree, I had a pork shank osso buco that was simply amazing. The meat just melted off the bone and the sauce was rich and flavorful. Michael had spaghetti with meat sauce and meatballs, which he loved.

Finally, our server brought me a piece of strawberry Borghese cake for my birthday. It was simply divine—a strawberry cake soaked in strawberry liqueur with layers of Chantilly custard.

The meal was so good I pulled out my Jasper’s cookbook when I got home. Thanks to the cold weather, I was immediately drawn to the recipe for Tuscan Beef Stew.

The recipe was originally written to be made in a slow cooker, which makes it an easy weeknight meal. However, I got a new Lodge enameled cast iron Dutch oven for Christmas, so I wanted to try it out with the stew. Also, the recipe calls for Italian red wine and beef bouillon granules, which I didn’t have on hand. (Plus, The Picky Eater isn’t a big fan of wine-based sauces.) So I used low-sodium beef broth instead.

We loved this recipe! The Picky Eater ate two bowls full, and then leftovers a couple of days later!

This stew just made the top of my “make often” list this winter!

Tuscan Beef Stew

Adapted from Jasper’s Kitchen Cookbook: Italian Recipes and Memories from Kansas City’s Legendary Restaurant by Jasper J. Mirabile, Jr.

1 1/2 pounds stewing beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups low sodium beef broth (or Italian red wine and 1 1/2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules)
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 carrots, sliced
2 medium yellow onions, cubed
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

Place all of the ingredients except the cornstarch and water into a 6-quart Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, and then turn to low. Cover and allow the stew to simmer for 2 to 3 hours, or until the beef is tender. Mix the cornstarch and cold water together and add it to the stew. Turn the heat up and bring the stew to a boil to allow the cornstarch mixture to thicken the sauce.

For a slow cooker, place all of the ingredients except the cornstarch and water into a slow cooker. Cook on low heat for 8 to 10 hours, or until the meat is tender. At the end, turn the slow cooker to high. Mix together the cornstarch and cold water and add to the slow cooker. Stir until the sauce thickens.



1 comment:

  1. Wow! Picky Eater gets big points for being so attentive on your big day! Happy Birthday, Linda! May you have many more!

    That stew AND your pick for dinner at jasper's looks wonderful!