Cozy beef stew pairs well with rice or noodles

I once had a cooking teacher tell me she never cooks with a wine she won't drink. You can't get better advice. It stands to reason that if you enjoy the flavor of a wine straight out of the glass, you will really enjoy the intensified flavor in your dish.

Today's recipe for Beef and Mushroom Stew relies on the cooked-down intensity of a good quality wine. I prefer a blend (or table wine) for cooking. Good quality doesn't have to mean expensive. You can find fine red blends for less than $10. If you prefer no wine in your stew, you can substitute beef broth. But the wine's layers of dark fruit and earthy finishes shine with the homey ingredients.

I really love brown rice with this stew. But I've served it over egg noodles, white rice, orzo and even risotto. It's nice to serve leftovers over a different base and have a whole new experience. Let your imagination soar.

Leftovers may be refrigerated for up to three days, or frozen (if the meat was fresh) for up to three months. Defrost in the refrigerator for 24 hours and eat within a day of fully thawing. Enjoy!

Suggested menu:

Beef and Mushroom Stew

Brown rice

Crisp romaine leaves with vinaigrette

• Alicia Ross is the co-author of "Desperation Dinners!" Contact her at Kitchen Scoop, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, or send email to

Beef and Mushroom Stew