By Astrid Tuttle Winegar
After his parents died and before being formally adopted by Bilbo, Frodo Baggins temporarily lived in the spacious home owned by the Brandybuck family. Brandy Hall was a large smial (which is Tolkien’s word for a large residential tunnel, where rather wealthy hobbits would live—Bilbo’s home Bag-End was also a smial) located beneath Buck Hill in Buckland. You could probably house a hundred hobbits in Brandy Hall. Be sure to double, triple, or quadruple this recipe accordingly, if your household is that large!
Please follow this link to my blog for the Savory Seasoning recipe! Or, I’ll make you a batch—head over to my Etsy Shop Elegant Sufficiencies and order your own: Savory Seasoning in a Jar or (the cheaper version) Savory Seasoning in a Ziploc Bag.
Brandy Hall Beef Stew
750 ml. dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dry thyme (or 3 fresh sprigs, each about 4″ long)
1 teaspoon crushed rosemary (or 2 fresh sprigs, each about 4″ long)
3 – 3¼ pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1½” pieces (trim off any large bits of fat)
1 tablespoon Kitchen Bouquet
½ cup apple butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup walnut oil
8 fairly large cloves of fresh garlic, sliced paper thin
3 cups water
About 20-24 pearl onions, any color
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1″ chunks
1½ teaspoons plus ½ teaspoon “Shire” Seasoning (see links above)
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup salted butter
1 pound fresh mushrooms (whole buttons or larger sizes; cut into halves or quarters, depending on size)
Mashed potatoes and/or crusty bread
In a 6-quart saucepan, combine the wine, bay leaves, thyme, and rosemary. Add the meat. Cover with the lid and refrigerate overnight. Stir a couple of times.
Four hours before serving: with a slotted spoon, remove meat to a large bowl. Pour marinade into a 4-cup glass measure. Add Kitchen Bouquet and apple butter to the marinade; mix and set aside. Add flour to the meat and stir it up, so that most of the meat is coated. Rinse out the saucepan; coat it liberally with cooking spray. Add oil to the saucepan and turn heat to high. Brown half of the meat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. With a slotted spoon, remove meat to a 3-quart medium deep skillet (later, rinse this and save for the mushrooms). Repeat with the remaining meat. Any marinade in bowl can be added to the 4-cup glass measure. Remove meat to skillet.
Sauté the garlic in the remaining oil for 30 seconds, then add back all the meat with any accumulated juices. Add the marinade mixture and bring to a boil. Turn burner to its lowest simmer; cover and cook 2 hours. Stir about every 30 minutes, scraping up brown bits.
Meanwhile, in a 3-quart saucepan, blanch the onions for a couple of minutes in the 3 cups water. Drain; let cool for awhile. Cut off the ends and peel; set aside.
Add the carrots to the meat; cover and simmer another 30 minutes. Add the onions, 1½ teaspoons “Shire” Seasoning, and pepper; turn heat up one notch and simmer another 30-45 minutes, covered, until the carrots are tender. Stir occasionally. Remove bay leaves and any fresh herb sprigs and discard. Adjust seasonings, if desired.
About 10 minutes before serving time, melt the butter in the 3-quart medium deep skillet over high heat. Add the ½ teaspoon “Shire” Seasoning and mushrooms and sauté about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. You may add these to the finished stew, or serve on top of each serving as a garnish. Serve with lots of mashed potatoes and/or crusty bread. Cover and refrigerate leftovers (this is one of those stews that tastes even better the next day). Serves 6-8.
This is known as Epic-Urean Stew in my cookbook.
Astrid Tuttle Winegar is the author of Cooking for Halflings & Monsters: 111 Comfy, Cozy Recipes for Fantasy-Loving Souls, which is currently available exclusively in e-book form on the Amazon Kindle, but will soon be released by Oloris Publishing! Stay tuned for details. For now, she is mostly telling a culinary Middle-earth story here on Legendarium. Astrid has loved C. S. Lewis since childhood, J. R. R. Tolkien since middle and high school, all Star things, both Trek and Wars, all things Whedon, and many other things besides… She lives in the enchanted city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her husband and dog. She blogs occasionally at Cooking for Halflings & Monsters. You can check out (and like!) her Facebook page or visit (and follow!) her Twitter feed. Staff Reporter.