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.

Refrain

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.

Refrain

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.

Refrain

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.

Refrain

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.

Refrain

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.

Refrain

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.

Refrain

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.

Ingredients:
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

Directions:
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.

3 comments:

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.