Every now and then, usually when the weather is chilly and the soul needs a little extra nourishment, this dish comes roaring to the forefront.
Part soup, part magic ( I swear, it really is more than just a bit of flour) this stew is downright delicious.
This was what hubby chose as our anniversary meal this year. Truth be told, it is very far afield from our usual anniversary dishes which fall regularly in the filet based surf and turf realm, but in light of many sleepless nights with our toddler, it seemed juuuuuuust right.
Most people just throw a bunch of ingredients into their slow cooker, but not this recipe.
This recipe is all about the braise, friends. Grab you a dutch oven or covered braising dish and get ready!
INGREDIENTS (makes 8 servings)
- 3 lbs beef chuck, cubed into 2″ pieces (steak or roast)
- 3tbsp of olive oil
- 4 cups low sodium beef broth (one carton)
- 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 yellow onions, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup red wine (a Bourdeaux or Lodi work very well with this recipe and compliment it once complete, too!)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 1-2 lbs yukon gold potatos, roughly chopped
- 3 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- Flat leaf parsley (optional, for garnish)
- Preheat oven to 350degrees. Make sure you remove any racks in the upper half of your oven (to allow for COVERED dutch oven or braiser to be placed inside.)
- Set Dutch oven over medium high heat. Using a tbsp of olive oil at a time, brown the beef cubes in a single layer for 2 minutes one one side, flip and brown another 2 minutes. Remove par-cooked beef and place on a plate. Continue with remaining beef and oil.
- Add onion and garlic to dutch oven and cook until fragrant and onion is translucent.
- Return beef to pot and add flour. Stir to coat.
- Add tomato paste, stir to coat everything and cook for 2-3 min until it’s a deep brown.
- Add stock, wine, vinegar, salt, spices and bay leaves. Stir to combine.
- Cover pot and place into oven.
- Braise for 2 hours. Let it be. It will thicken as it braises and you want to leave it alone, covered for the full 2 hours… NO PEEKING!
- At the 2 hour mark, remove from oven, stir and add in potatoes and carrots. Stir to combine and settle the newly added veggies below the liquid.
- Return pot to the oven and allow to braise another 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and stir. Adjust salt and pepper as necessary.
- Serve immediately, pressure can or freeze (for up to 3 months!)
Now this dish was a SURPRISE. I don’t think I can recall a better beef stew. It was not overly salty, not overly seasoned and the ratio of beef to veggie, which initially I thought was not going to be right, was PERFECT.
The beef? Incredible.
The sauce? Sublime.
I will be honest, this stew was so tasty I was shocked. And my adjustments from the base recipes out there were spot on.
Notes: #1. If you use regular beef broth (not low sodium) you will need to hold back on the salt until the end. It will be too salty otherwise. #2. if you are reheating this on day 2, add 1/4 cup of water to loosen your stew. #3. Could you add more veggies? Sure you could, but it would reduce the amount of ‘sauce’ you have to work with.
The braising versus using a slow cooker might seem to take some of the convenience away from this. And sure, you can totally shortcut it by making a slow cooker beef stew, BUT… when thinking of the time commitment of 2.5 hours of braising…. it is easy to accomplish for a weekend meal. I had the beef browned and the pot ready to start braising when I went to go pick up my daughter from daycare at 5pm. It was ready to have the veggies added right after she went down to bed at 7p, and we were eating it by 7:30p. Happy Anniversary US!
I served with with crusty bread, a small garnish of fresh, flat leaf parsley and a hefty glass of one of our favorite reds: Stag’s Leap’s Investor. (if you haven’t tried it, I highly suggest it if you are a fan of big, deep reds.)