winter beef stew

winter beef stew

During these winter months in new york city, when it’s much too cold to go outside, I find respite in the kitchen. Although time consuming, this beef stew is the perfect dinner to prepare on a lazy Sunday. Start the cooking process in the late afternoon, and by early evening you’ll have a satisfying stew of tender beef cooked low and slow with carrots and potatoes. Laced with Worcestershire, soy sauce, and tomato paste, this stew is savory and utterly satisfying. I like to serve this stew on a scoop of short grain Japanese white rice.

The how to…
Recipe slightly adapted from The Kitchn
Serves 6-8

Ingredients

1 pound beef stew meat, cut in cubes
vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 celery stalks, cut into thick half moons
5 large garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup red wine
2 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
4 cups chicken stock
3 carrots, peeled & cut into chunks
3 medium size red bliss potatoes, rinsed & cut in quarters
1 cup frozen peas
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Prepare meat. Pat the meat dry with paper towels and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Sear the meat (work in batches). Set a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add 1/2 Tbsp of vegetable oil. When hot enough that a drop of water sizzles off the surface, add a single layer of beef to the pot, being careful not to crowd the beef too closely. Let the beef cook undisturbed for 4-5 minutes, until the undersides develop a dark brown crust and come away easily from the pot. Turn the beef and continue searing on all sides, another 4-5 minutes. Transfer the seared meat to a clean bowl.
  3. Dissolve the “fond”. A sticky dark glaze will form on the bottom of the pot. This is technically called “the fond”–it’s a major source of the deep, rich caramelized beef flavor in this stew. Dissolve “the fond” with a Tbsp of water and pour over the seared beef.  Working in batches, repeat steps 2 & 3 until all the meat has been seared and transferred out of the pot.
  4. Cook the vegetables. Reduce the heat to medium and heat a tsp of vegetable oil. Add the onions and celery, and cook until the onions are softened and translucent, 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato paste, salt, pepper, and one Tbsp Worcestershire sauce.
  5. Add the flour. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables. Stir until there is no more visible flour and the vegetables look slightly mushy from the flour coating.
  6. Deglaze with wine. Raise the heat back up to medium-high and pour in the wine. The wine should immediately start bubbling and steaming. Scrape the sticky fond from the bottom of the pan. Continue scraping and stirring until the wine has reduced and thicken slightly.
  7. Return the meat to the pan and add the broth. Return the seared meat to the pan, and add the thyme, bay leaves, and the broth. Stir to combine.
  8. Cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Stir occasionally. Make sure the stew stays at a very low simmer.
  9. Add the potatoes and carrots. Add the potatoes and carrots. Cover and continue cooking for another 45-60 minutes. When done, the meat should be tender enough to flake apart with a fork and the potatoes cooked through. If not, re-cover and cook in additional 15 minute increments until cooked.
  10. Add the peas and remaining seasonings. Add the frozen peas, 1 tsp of Soy sauce, and the remaining Tbsp of Worcestershire sauce. Taste and add extra salt, pepper, or Soy sauce as you see fit. The stew can be served right away, refrigerated for up to a week, or frozen for up to three months.

Some extras…
*In addition to the potatoes and carrots in Step 9, add 1 medium size Japanese radish (Daikon), cut in chunks.
*I used a bottle of Quail Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, California, $5.99 from Whole Foods Market Wine Store.

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