I appreciate that Cook’s Illustrated has a scientific explanation for why its recipes are superior to others, but most of the time I’m content to take it at face value and not read their lengthy dissertation.  I don’t dislike science, I just feel like it’s doing fine without me so I should devote my attention to areas where I can make a difference.  For instance, the city of Chicago is really not going to run properly without my thoughtful and well-reasoned commentary.


But I did read a little of the background on this recipe and it was almost as interesting as the red-hot red-light debate we are currently having in the Windy City.  (Debate is the wrong word.  Turns out every single solitary person in the city hates them.  Our mayor stands valiantly alone in his defense of these “safety enhancers”).


Turns out, it matters a great deal when you add certain ingredients.  Put all the wine and pepper in in the beginning and you won’t taste it as much in the finished product (this has to do with the differing properties of stable, volatile and unstable compounds when they are cooked.  Am I blinding you with science yet???).  But reserve a little for the last few minutes and you magically have a much more nuanced and interesting dish.


More good news: cheap Chianti works really well in this stew.


I paired it with Glazed Carrots with Balsamic Vinegar and Butter and Creamy Mashed Potatoes.


I served it all to these nice people