My first venture back into the kitchen after a long hiatus was this beef stew. I always used my slow cooker whenever I made beef stew, but this time I opted to make this dish the traditional way. It entailed a lot more work, but I love the aroma it emitted while it was simmering. Using the slow cooker is a lot easier, but I don’t know if it’s just my imagination, but this one tasted better. This was the second time I made beef stew sans the slow cooker.
I learned, that key to a great stew is browning the meat well. The darker the beef browns, the better the stew will look and taste. So, I went ahead and did it.
5 lbs. beef chuck trimmed of excess fat and gristle (don’t worry, we didn’t eat them all, a good part is already frozen)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
coarse salt and ground pepper
3 tbsp safflower oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 celery stalks, sliced
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine ( I used Merlot)
1 can crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 dried bay leaves
3 pounds winter vegetables ( potatoes, carrots, turnips and parsnips peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks)
1. In a large bowl, toss beef with flour; season with salt and pepper. In a large dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot, heat the oil over medium high. Shake off excess flour, and sear beef on all sides until browned, approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer beef to a plate and set aside.
2. Add onion, celery and garlic to pot; cook, stirring occasionally until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, and cook, stirring until slightly darkened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine, and cook scraping up browned bits from bottom of the pot until liquid is reduced by half, 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Return browned beef to pot. Stir in tomatoes, thyme, bay leaves and 8 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer partially covered, stirring occasionally, 2 hours. ( If liquid reduces too quickly, add a little more water.)
4. Stir in winter vegetables. Simmer over medium-low, partially covered until beef and vegetables are fork tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours more, stirring occasionally.
It took a lot of work and hours to wait till it was done, but the reward was a deeply flavored beef stew.
Recipe from: Everyday Food