Monday, February 8, 2010

Beef Stew

So, incase you hadn't heard, the Mid Atlantic was hit by a HUGE snowstorm on Saturday. Here in Columbia, MD, we got 30+ inches of snow, and we're expecting another 12-20 inches tomorrow night. Needless to say, we've been pretty much stuck in the house, no school (I happen to be on vacation this week) and lots of free time that is getting harder to fill. I'm trying not to bake too much, because I know we'll just sit around and eat it all out of boredom. I have some chili leftover from last weekend, but since Rob and Maura don't like chili, I knew I needed to make something warm and comforting for them.

I have made beef stew once before, in my Crock Pot, and it was ok, but nothing I was head over heels for. My mom makes a wonderful beef stew, but I wanted to try something a little different. When I saw that this recipe called for red wine, I knew this would be the one I'd try because I'm always looking for a reason to cook with wine, and because I had half a bottle sitting around that needed using up. Also, I found this recipe on my good friend Chelle's website, and I know that any recipe that she has endorsed is going to be a good one. This will, from now on, be my go to Beef Stew recipe.

I plan on playing around with a little to make it more broth-y. The potatoes and beef soaked up most of the liquid, and the stew was amazingly flavorful, but I would have preferred more broth.
I am amazed by how few ingredients this stew called for, yet how much flavor it has. I was floored and I can't wait to eat the leftovers. It was so simple and so comforting, and I am quite sure I will always have beef stew meat waiting in my freezer to make this dish.

I will link to the recipe on Chelle's site, but I will also post my slightly adapted version below. Chelle originally found this recipe on Good Things Catered, but I believe it was originally an America's Test Kitchen recipe.

Hearty Beef Stew

2 lbs. beef stew meat, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 in. cubes
Salt and ground pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 medium onions, chopped
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup dry red wine
2 cups beef broth
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried basil
4 medium red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-in. cubes
4 large carrots (about 1 lb.), peeled and sliced 1/4 in. thick

Dry beef throughly and season generously with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy-bottomed pot over medium high heat. Add half the meat so that pieces are not touching and cook not moving until brown (about 2-3 min). Use tongs and rotate pieces until all sides are browned (about 5 additional min.). Transfer beef to medium bowl and add another 1 tablespoon oil to pan, repeating previous steps with other half of beef (I wasn't able to do this process in just 2 batches. I had to do it in thirds.)

Reduce heat to medium and add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to now empty pan and swirl to coat bottom. Add onions and 1/4 tsp salt and cook, scraping bottom of pan for brown bits until softened (about 5 mins). Add garlic and continue to cook for 30 sec. Stir in the flour and cook until lightly colored (1-2 min.). Add wine, scraping the bottom and stiring until thick and flour is dissolved.

Gradually add the beef broth, stirring constantly, scraping up the remaining browned bits on bottom of pan. Add bay leaves and thyme and return to simmer. Add beef, return to simmer, reduce heat to low, and cover. Simmer for 1 hour.

Add potatoes and carrots, leave uncovered, increase heat to medium and cook for about 45 minutes.

Discard bay leaves and serve immediately.

This is the wine I used. It is one of the best Kosher wines I've found, so far, and I know that this wine is a huge reason why my stew turned out so flavorful. I plan to use this wine next time I need to cook with red wine.


  1. Looks classically delicious!

  2. Looks classically delicious!

  3. Thanks branny! It is definitely a classic and it is definitely delicious! I just finished the leftovers today and I'm wishing I had made more.

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