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In the kitchen with Patrick Horvat: Hanger steak and vegetable stew

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In this week's Chef and Tell interview, Patrick Horvat, the head chef of Venue, weighs in on crappy Mexican joints, six guys who just love to make great food and culinary tips for the home cook. "Start with the basics and go from there," Horvat advises.

His recipe for beef stew, which is on the menu at Venue, isn't exactly basic, but it's not difficult, either -- and it's a killer cold weather dish. "This recipe reminds me of home and the hearty dishes I grew up eating in the Midwest," says Horvat, adding that it's "stick-to-your-bones comfort food that can be made in larger quantities."

The recipe calls for hanger steak, which is occasionally available from your local butcher; you can sometimes find it at Whole Foods or Marczyk's, too, but if you want a definitive source, your best bet is Tonali's Meats (6260 West 52nd Avenue), which is where Horvat gets his.

Venue Beef Stew Serves 4-6 people

Ingredients

3 pounds hanger steak 2 cups AP flour Salt and pepper Blended oil

3 large carrots, medium dice 6 ribs of celery, medium dice 3 medium yellow onions, medium dice 2 tablespoons chopped garlic

½ cup tomato paste 4 cups red wine

4 cups chicken stock

4 to 5 pounds red skin potatoes, quartered

1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped 1 sprig oregano, finely chopped 1 sprig sage, finely chopped 3 sprigs thyme, finely chopped

Directions

1. Cut hanger steak into 1 1/2- to 2-inch cubes and season with salt and pepper. Allow steak to rest for approximately 30 minutes. After the steak has rested, place the cubes in a bowl and dust with flour until thoroughly coated.

2. Turn the heat to medium-high, and in a large 8-quart pot, add enough blended oil to coat the bottom of the pan; add cubes of steak, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Sear both sides of the cubes until golden brown. Remove steak and set aside but leave the fond (all the good bits of seared steak) in the pan. (Note: It may take three to four rounds of searing to get through all of the steak.)

3. Add carrots, celery, onion, and garlic to the pot and sweat for approximately 10 to 15 minutes. As your vegetables are sweating, scrape the fond from the bottom of the pan. When onions are translucent, remove the vegetables from the pot and set aside.

4. Add tomato paste and red wine to the pot and whisk. Reduce the mixture by 2/3.

5. Add seared steak, vegetables and chicken stock to the pan, and simmer for 2 to 3 hours over medium-low heat. The stew should be thicker than soup but thinner than gravy.

6. Quarter the red skin potatoes and toss them with oil and salt and pepper. Bake on a lined baking sheet at 375 degrees for 45-60 min or until golden brown and crispy, stirring occasionally so they don't burn.

7. Just before serving, add a tablespoon of chopped fresh herbs to the stew. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

8. Divide the stew among six large bowls, add a generous portion of roasted potatoes to the center of each bowl, sprinkle remaining herbs on top and serve immediately.

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