Craving: Beef Stew

Still life for stew.

Recently I made beef stew for a crowd, and I really liked how it turned out.   This is an easy, satisfying meal to make on a snowy day like we had yesterday.  It doesn’t require any special ingredients, and it’s a great one-pot dinner.

The recommended meat is boneless chuck.   Top round also worked fine.   Whichever you use, cut into 1″ chunks after trimming fat.  The hardest part of the procedure is browning the meat.  Use your tall stew pot, and you’ll have less splattering grease, and accomplish the meal in one cooking pot.  Warm a few tablespoons of vegetable oil and add several pieces of meat.  Make sure to leave some space between them so you get searing without the release of the juices.  The pan should stay hot and oiled.  Try to adjust the heat so the pieces brown readily without producing too much burnt materials on the bottom of the pan.  This is important since it will become part of the flavor base for the stock. Here’s a shot into the pan while I was browning the meat.

Boneless chuck browning.

Turn each piece when it releases from the pan.  Try to brown each surface of each piece.  This is a little tedious, but it’ll give you the best flavor.  As pieces are browned, remove them from the pan and set aside.  Add more meat gradually untill you’ve browned all the chunks.  While the meat is browning, you may have time to coarsely chop onions, carrots, celery, potatoes and garlic. Mushrooms would also be good.

When all the meat is browned and set aside, add the prepared vegetables to the same pan.  If you’re using peas, save them till later.

Chopped vegetables in same pan.

Stir and cook for a while over medium heat till softened– about 10 minutes.

Flour added to vegetables.

Now add flour to the vegetables (about 1 rounded tablespoon per pint of liquid you plan to add) and continue cooking and stirring for a few minutes to make sure the flour is well-distributed.

Stock, wine, water, and herbs added.

Return the meat to the pot.  Add broth, stock, some dry red wine, and some water to cover the contents. Add herbs. I used thyme and bay leaves.  If you add salt and pepper now, be careful because you may still reduce the volume, and you don’t want it to be too salty.  Bring the pot to a boil, cover, and adjust heat to simmer for a couple of hours.  When it’s well-cooked and the meat is very tender, see if you want it thicker.  If so, reduce by simmering uncovered, or add a little more flour stirred into a small amount of cold water. Adjust the salt and pepper, add peas, and cook briefly before serving.  I served it with garlic toasts.  (Toast bread, then rub with a peeled garlic clove and brush with olive oil.)  Great with soup or stew.  Enjoy! Here are the ingredients I used:

2 pounds of boneless chuck

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 pound of carrots

2 large onions

garlic

4 stalks celery

3 medium russet potatoes

5 rounded Tbsp. flour

5 bay leaves

1 Tbsp whole thyme leaves

1 quart chicken stock (could be beef or vegetable stock)

2 1/2 cups inexpensive dry red wine

1 quart water (could be more stock or wine)

1 cup frozen peas

salt and pepper

Beef stew with garlic toasts and red wine. YUM!

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About longslowrise

Mimi Kibler and her husband Alain Kieny live in Parsons, West Virginia. In 1997 they founded LaFontaine bakery to supply the area with hearth baked breads and other treats. Her mother taught her the wonder of food and cooking. French master baker Didier Rosada taught her traditional european sourdough techniques. She is an enthusiastic gardener, birdwatcher and home cook who loves trying new and exotic foods.
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