So, you know I like my meals to be simple, but delicious. Well, this beef stew is a little more work than my usual, but — oh my — is it ever worth it.
Consider this a small labor of love. Yes, it’s more time-consuming, but it’s actually pretty simple in technique. I promise.
First, you brown the meat to develop its flavor. Then, you braise the beef with some vegetables in a red wine-beef broth mixture. Mmm. Finally, near the end, you add the rest of the chopped vegetables so they keep their character, color and flavor.
This is one hearty beef stew. It is kinda like pot roast in a bowl. You’re gonna want seconds because it’s so good, but you’ll be too full to eat more than one bowl. Sooo yummy.
Enjoy it with some fresh egg bread buns with a little butter and you’re set for — like — days.
Since Dustin and I are now expecting our second baby (woohoo!), I was worried about how to substitute for the red wine in this stew because it adds such a good depth of flavor. Thanks to my pal, Alton Brown, I’m just not one of those people who believes all the alcohol gets completely evaporated out during cooking.
But, then I discovered non-alcoholic wine! It’s called Fre and it came in Chardonnay, Merlot and White Zinfandel at my local store. It smells like wine and tastes like wine without the alcohol. Plus, it was less than $7 for the bottle. Perfect!
The beauty about this stew is it really gives you back what you give it. I guess most food is like that, huh? What I mean is: the more care you take to brown the meat and follow each step carefully, the more delicious your final result will be. And, believe me, it will be delicious. Perfect for a chilly Fall day.
Hearty Beef Stew
makes about 8 servings
For Step 1:
3 lbs. boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 tbsp. olive oil
ground black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 carrots, unpeeled and quartered
2 celery ribs, quartered
1 medium yellow onion, quartered
10 garlic cloves, split in half
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 bottle dry red wine (I used Merlot)
1 bay leaf
2 whole fresh thyme sprigs
4 cups beef broth
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season beef chunks with kosher salt and ground black pepper. Pour flour into a shallow dish and lightly coat the beef with flour. Without crowding the meat, brown in batches, turning to brown all sides. You will have approximately 3-4 batches. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Once all meat is browned, reduce the heat to medium and add the quartered carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Cook approximately 10-15 minutes until well-browned, stirring occasionally.
Add tomato paste to the pot and mix to incorporate. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add balsamic vinegar to the vegetables and stir to incorporate. Cook another 1-2 minutes.
Stir in the wine, bay leaf and thyme. Simmer until liquid is reduced by two thirds, approximately 10-15 minutes.
Add beef broth to the pot, along with the beef (with any residual juices), and bring to a simmer. Cover and braise in the oven until meat is tender, about 2 1/2 hours.
Carefully remove the meat, thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Set beef aside and discard the herbs. Using a stick blender, blend the remaining contents in the pot (if you don’t have a stick blender, you can use a food processor or blender). After blended, return the meat to the pot and bring to a boil.
For Step 2:
2 lbs. red or yukon potatoes, unpeeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
3/4 lb. carrots, unpeeled and sliced diagonally into bite-size slices
7 cremini mushrooms, quartered
Add the potatoes, carrots and mushrooms to the braised beef mixture, taking care to submerge as many vegetables as possible. Simmer, covered, until potatoes and carrots are tender, about 40-60 minutes, stirring occasionally.
As always, I want to thank you for visiting. I welcome your comments, questions, recipe suggestions and food stories. Here’s to doing what you love!
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