Saturday, December 9, 2006

O come, Desire of nations, bind in one the hearts of all mankind

We've been Christmas shopping all day and listening to Christmas Carols and there are a few that I can't quite get out of my head. So, while I'm putting finishing touches on our dinner (guinness beef stew; green salad with homemade poppy seed dressing; sourdough bread that I baked earlier--the neighbor provided the dough; and for dessert a pumpkin raisin bread with good Starbucks coffee) this playlist is on:

The first is the Whitney Houston version of "Do You Hear What I Hear?" I can't quite hear it without noticing she's a tad sharp, but every year, it's at the top of the Christmas rotation.

The second is "Mary Did You Know?", the Natalie Cole version. The neighbor and I disagree as to whether this is the best rendition, but I haven't ever heard it sound better.

The next is (drum roll for the cheese factor) "Do They Know It's Christmas" by BandAid.
Don't ask. It just speaks to me.

Then there's O Come, O Come Emmanuel as sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They drag a bit and I guess that if I'd really stop to think about it, I'd find it overdone. But I don't stop to think and I love the words:
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.


Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.


O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.


O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.


O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.


O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times once gave the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.


O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
All peoples on Thy mercy call.


O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.

I can't resist a song that implores: O come, Desire of nations, bind in one the hearts of all mankind Bid Thou our sad divisions cease. And the Mormons ask with such fervor that I cannot resist.

All kidding aside, we could use a little of that this season, no?

And if you'd like to try the stew, it's rich and flavorful. I'm reprinting the Epicurious recipe that I use, but I always make it in a slow cooker. Just brown the meat with the bay leaves and onion and then throw the lot into the pot on low. Let it cook all day.

2 Tbsp olive oil
3 bay leaves
2 lbs stew meat, cut into 1 1/2 - 2 inch cubes
1 large yellow onion, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tsp dried thyme, whole
1 tsp dried rosemary
2 -3 tsp all-purpose flour
3/4 cup beef stock
1/2 cup Guiness Stout
1 Tbsp chopped parley
1/2 lb carrots, sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heat a 6-quart stove-top casserole and add the oil and the bay leaves. Cook the bay leaves for a moment and then add the meat. Brown the meat on both sides on high heat. Add the sliced onion and cook for a few minutes until it is clear. Reduce the heat to low and add the garlic, thyme, rosemary, and flours, and stir well until smooth.

Add the beef stock and stout; simmer, stirring, until the stew thickens a bit. Add the remaining ingredients and cover. Place the pot in a 275 F degree oven for about 2 hours, stirring a couple times. Check for salt and pepper before serving.


jo said...

Oh yea..."The next is (drum roll for the cheese factor) "Do They Know It's Christmas" by BandAid.
Don't ask. It just speaks to me."

I still have it...on vinyl. A 33 1/3 single as a matter of fact.

Of course for you...I know it is the Bono line...

I also still have a turntable.

We bought the tree tonight.
that will be in rotation as it is being decorated.

Starfish said...

Great stew. The Irishman asked where the potatoes were??? Also,I have 5 1/2 bottles of Guiness left. Any ideas????

mainelife said...

Jo-BandAid on vinyl and still have a turntable is only one reason that you are wicked cool.

Starfish--I hear ya on those potatoes. My husband still refuses to call it a stew for that reason.

As for the leftover beer, I'm guessing I really don't need to tell the Irishman what to do, but just in case, invite the neighbors over for stew and beer. The host gets the extra half.