Beef Marsala Stew

Foodies, I may come across a little grumpy here but I have a few complaints about this recipe, and recipes in general.

Call them “beefs.”

Seriously, though.

I know that people who “make money” writing about and photographing food have to do whatever it takes to make it sound unique and look amazing, but I prefer more honesty in my ingredients.

That’s why you have Foodie Friendship!  We’re not pretending to be pros; we’re just people who like to cook and give you the low-down on how it went for us.  I think you like it, and that’s what keeps you coming back.

Speaking of challenging ingredients, on to today’s review.

Looking through the ingredients of this recipe, it calls for “12 ounces Cipollini onions.” Since I typically go by the picture, this looked like those little pearl onions to me.  I bought a bag of those in produce but soon realized what hell-on-earth it was to cut and peel them all.


Side note:  Cipollini onions, I’ve since learned, are similar to pearl onions in that they have to be processed.  My store doesn’t carry them.  I should have thought for a minute and bought pearl onions frozen, already peeled.  Duh!

By the time I was through (and in case you’re wondering, tiny onions do make you cry, which in my case meant I did a lot of scratching at the layers half-blinded, sniffling, and peeling away half or more of the onion itself), the original 10 ounces I bought ended up being probably more like 6 oz once I got them in the pan.

I should have actually just used regular onion. Live and learn.

I then see “1/2 cup plus 2 TB sweet Marsala wine” which is an ingredient that really bugs me.  Why do so many recipes call for a small amount of a specific wine?  Who just *has* that?  ‘Cause I’ll be straight up here:  we’re working within a budget. Ya know what I’m sayin’?  Any wine I buy is getting drank up, not poured in the food.  (JK/NK)  The good news is, I did discover this brand of “cooking wine”  and at around $3 per bottle, I’m happy with it.

Then there’s “1 ½ cups unsalted beef stock.”  This one gets me again, because first of all, who has stock of any kind on hand?  About once a year I cook a roast or a chicken and then boil the bones and all to make stock, which we strain and then put in freezer bags, but honestly there isn’t any scenario where I would not have salted/flavored it.

I guess you can buy that, but I’m positive you can’t buy 1 ½ cups of it, so what are you supposed to do with the leftovers?  I just use bouillon cubes, and that’s that.  (Then again, if one cube goes into 1 cup water, what do I do with 1 ½ cups water?  Depends on what I’m making.  This has beef in it anyway, so I just used 1 cube.  And yes, I do know you can get it in granules which measure easier, but again, I typically go with what I know, and also that container costs more. Sigh.)

I *did* buy a little plastic box of thyme sprigs, but since I don’t like mushrooms, I left those out.

One more thing (there’s always one more thing)…

“4 large carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces”  Well this kind of thing is hard when all your carrots are thin and kind of short.  I don’t know what goes on with the carrot people, but it seems nearly every bag of carrots I buy has like one big one and the rest are scrawny.  So how many equates to “four large” in this case?  I prefer instructions like “one cup chopped carrots” or whatever.  And seriously, “1-inch” is not accurate.  I cut mine into much smaller pieces, as you can see.


Oh…and the cooking time says to cook this on LOW for 7 ½ hours.  What?  My crock pot has settings for HIGH 4 or 6 hours, or LOW 8 or 10 hours.

Yes, I know I’m being picky here, but it’s been a too-long, too-eventful cooking adventure for my liking.

In the end, this tasted good, smelled good, and I’m glad I made it.  Turns out I had neither potatoes nor mashed potato flakes, so I made noodles, but that was fine.  I thought about rice but I knew the kids would balk over it.

Ingredients and kids. We do what we gotta do.


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