You’re getting warmer

It’s cold in New York. Bone-chilling.

This weather calls for hearty fare. No mamby-pamby salads. No sushi (raw, cold fish? Are you kidding?).

No. This weather calls for beef stew. Full fat, big, huge portions. Don’t worry — your body is already burning off all the calories to keep your extremities from freezing off.

So, on Saturday I made this one from O, The Oprah Magazine. Make this dish, now. It’s SO good.

I did have to make a few substitions. My market didn’t have applewood smoked bacon, so I used double smoked. My market also didn’t have beef chuck that hadn’t already been ground. The butcher assured me that rump roast would work, and be better. I’m normally not a fan of animal parts labeled “rump” but when the butcher gives advice, listen. And, he trimmed it and cut it into the appropriately-sized chunks (they all do this — ask!). I used regular canned tomatoes — rather than plum. Finally, I also couldn’t find horseradish mustard, so I mixed a few tablespoons of horseradish into regular Dijon.

A few other notes: I used Courvoisier cognac. It’s good enough for a rap song, I figure it’s good enough for me. When I poured it in, I was hoping for flames. I like a little drama when I cook and nothing adds drama like fire. Next time perhaps I’ll set it on fire just for the heck of it. For the wine I used Ravenwood Old Vine Zinfandel. Yummy, spicy. Perfect for a cold night.

This was one of the most divine dishes I’ve ever eaten. My husband, initially skeptical, wholeheartedly concurred. It definitely had a French country feel with deep, complex flavors. And it did stick to the ribs — but I don’t know who they are kidding when they say it serves six. Six children, maybe.

This stew became a meal with a loaf of crusty bread and a salad of arugula and spinach dressed with sherry viniagrette. It made a frigid night feel toasty.