Friday, September 30, 2011

Beef Stew


* 2- 3 lbs boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
* salt and pepper
* 3 tbsp of vegetable oil
* 2 onions, minced
* 1 tbsp tomato paste
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
*3 tbsp AP flour
* 1 cup dry red wine
* 2 cups chicken broth
* 1 tbsp minced fresh thyme (1 tsp of dried)
* 2 bay leaves
* 1 1/2 lbs of potatoes, peeled, and cut into uniform chunks
* 4 carrots peeled and cut into uniform chunks
* 1 cup frozen peas


1. Adjust oven rack to lower middle, and set oven temp to 300.
2. Dry the beef with a paper towel, then season with salt and pepper. Brown the beef in one tbsp of the oil in two batches over medium high heat, adding another tbsp of oil for the second batch. Use a dutch oven, as you can put this in the oven when it is time to do so. Reserve the browned beef on a plate or in a bowl.
3. Heat the final tbsp of oil and add the onions. Cook about 5 minutes or until softened.
4. Stir in the tomato paste and garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
5. Add the flour and cook for one minute.
6. Slowly stir in the wine and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
7. Stir in the stock, thyme, bay leaves. Add the beef back to the pot. Bring the stew to a simmer, then cover and transfer to the oven.
8. Cook for 1 hour.
9. Open the open the pot and stir in the potatoes and carrots. Cover again, and cook for an additional hour.
10. Remove the pot from the oven, stir in the peas and cover again. Let the pot stand off the heat for 5 minutes.
11. Remove the bay leaves, and serve!


I buy a chuck roast and cut my own stew beef - it definitely makes a difference as it ensures the beef pieces are all cut about the same size. Also, remember my tip about tomato paste? If you open a new can for this recipe and only need the one tbsp, mound out tbsp portions on wax paper and freeze. Once frozen, put them in a freezer bag and you'll have recipe ready tomato paste when you need it! And finally, for cooking should be able to drink the wine you cook with - so here is what I do: I like to keep those little 4 packs of wine in my pantry - the ones that are about 6 oz to the bottle. They are good enough the drink, so they are perfect for cooking! No need to open a whole bottle if you only need a cup or so...though opening a bottle is also a great idea. If you do open a bottle, serve the rest with dinner!

One more tip...don't try to double this recipe for a bigger crowd. I tried to double it for a dinner party, and the stew definitely wasn't as good as it always is when I just follow the recipe listed here!

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