Enjoy this stew on a lazy Sunday or to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!As I sit here on this quiet early Sunday afternoon, I look through my windows and enjoy the view. All of the trees on my street have put on their fall colors. The sky has so much going on, too. Plenty of clouds, a touch of light blue here and there and lots of gray. Is it going to rain? I wish, but I’m pretty certain it won’t. The house is quiet as my boys went to the park. So it’s me, our sleeping dog and some relaxing music. I sit here sipping some tea and thinking about the words written on my tea bag tag: “Develop the power of listening”. It is such helpful advice. Sometimes, especially when talking with my 8 year old, I tend to jump in. I ask too many questions, criticize and offer possible solutions instead of just letting him talk. It’s hard to get him to tell me more about his day other than the usual “It was good. Nothing happened.” My probing doesn’t make him more open and talkative. More listening and hugging then. Hugging is one of the best ways to strengthen the relationship with your loved ones and can save you tons of time and money on theraphy. Feels better, that’s for sure! So, hug your people several times a day and do it like you mean it.
Now, on to my recipe.
Everyone needs a good beef stew recipe. It is comfort food after all. You can make a big batch and freeze it. It will come handy later for sure when someone at home gets a cold or flu. It’s a great recipe to use in a slow cooker, especially if you can brown the beef on a skillet first to add a great depth to the flavor.
Start the stew by prepping the beef. Get a chunk of meat and cut it by yourself. This way you know that all of the meat is the same quality and no “extras” are added like when you buy some pre-packaged cubed beef. The cuts that work well when making a stew are the tougher ones and come from either the shoulder area or the rear end area. So look for cuts like chuck roast, chuck shoulder, top round or bottom round roast. Cut the meat into 1- inch pieces, dredge in flour and sauté until brown on all sides.Next, add lots of minced garlic and sauté for about 1 minute. Add the red wine or beer and let it boil a bit. If you are going to use a slow cooker, transfer the browned beef in there now. Add beef stock, tomato paste and spices as well as chopped vegetables. Set on low for 6 hours or high for 4.If you are going to cook the stew on a stove, don’t add the chopped vegetables right away. Instead, simmer the mixture of beef, wine, beef stock and spices, covered, for about 1 hr.
In the meantime, chop a large onion, potatoes, carrots and mushrooms. Sauté all of the vegetables in a large pot for about 15 minutes. Add to the stew. Stir and continue to simmer for about 45 minutes. Add frozen peas and cook another 15 minutes. Adjust the seasonings. Remove the bay leaves and spoon off the fat.
Serve with crusty bread and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.
Serves: 8 Prep time: 20 minutes Ready in: 3-6 hrs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 lbs beef, stew/chuck/round roast, cubed into 1-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 4-6 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup red wine or Porter beer
- 6 cups beef stock
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 lbs ( about 5 potatoes) Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1/2-inch pieces
- 4 large carrots, peeled and diced
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 4 oz brown mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- Cube the beef and dredge in flour. Heat olive oil in a large skillet, add the meat and brown it on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook another minute. Pour the wine or beer and cook until it is reduced, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients up to the bay leaves. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer and cook, covered for about 1 hr.
- If using a slow cooker, start like described above. After the wine is reduced, transfer it all to the slow cooker and add all of the ingredients, including vegetables (except peas and mushrooms). Cover and cook on low for 6 – 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
- While the meat simmers, chop the onion, potatoes, carrots and mushrooms. Sauté with melted butter for about 15 minutes. Add to the meat. Cook another 45 minutes. Add the frozen peas and cook 15 minutes.
- Adjust seasonings. Remove the bay leaves and spoon off some fat. Allow all of the flavors to blend before serving.
- Serve with fresh bread and a sprinkle of chopped parsley.