Sunday, March 10, 2013

Beef Stew (serves 6)


This tasty stew can easily be cooking under very low heat while you do other chores around the house or take a nap (which I did!).  I often make stews or soups for the cold winter months to help warm up the kitchen and living room and also to humidify our living quarters.  A few neighbors came over to join us for dinner recently and I served this stew with lightly sautéed pea tips, roasted terrific trio (which are young potatoes), and toasted baguette.  I have made this in the past and served it with mashed potatoes and that was as delicious.

Ingredients:

2 lb beef bottom round rump roast*, cubed into 1 inch pieces
1/3 C all-purpose flour
About 3 T canola oil (for browning the floured cubed beef)
1 medium onion, chopped
4 celery heart sticks, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
1 C chopped flat leaf parsley (stems and leaves)
1/2 t dried thyme*
32 oz beef stock (or make your own using beef bones)
2 C red wine*
3 T tomato paste
12 oz button mushrooms, wiped clean with a towel, trimmed the ends and halved
7 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch lengths
1/2 lb pearl onions
1/2 t salt
1/2 t fish sauce (optional)
1/2 t pepper
1 T Better Than Bouillon (beef base)
Fried diced pancetta, garnish (please see Mini Seared Sea Scallops Salad with a Tropical Sauce post)

Method:

1) Either on a plate or in a plastic bag coat the cubed beef in flour, shake off any excess flour.
2) Heat 2 T of oil in a large pot over medium high heat.  Once the pot is hot spread the floured beef on the bottom of the pot to brown them.  Avoid over-crowding the pot.  Brown all sides of the beef.  It may take about 4-6 minutes.  Add more oil to the pot as needed.  Once the meat is browned, remove and reserve them on a plate.  Repeat the process until all the meat is browned.
3) Stir in the chopped onion and let it sweat, about 1-2 minutes.
4) Add celery, parsley, thyme, beef stock, red wine and tomato paste to the pot.  Scrape up the bottom of the pot gently using a wooden spoon.
5) Once the liquid starts to boil, turn the heat down to low.  Cover the pot and let everything cook for 3 1/2 hours.
6) Uncover the pot and turn up the heat to medium, add mushrooms, carrots, pearl onions, salt, fish sauce, pepper, and beef base.  Cook for about 1/2 hour more or until the carrots are tender.

*I use my handy cast iron pot all the time, maybe a few times a week.  It is definitely worth the  investment.  It's great to use it to make this type of stew since the pot retains heat well and it saves lots of energy when you cook.  
*When I cook with wine I use strictly drinking wine.  I am not a wine connoisseur, however if the wine is good enough for me to drink then it is good enough for cooking in my kitchen.  Avoid using cooking wine, it contains too much sodium.
*You can buy any type of beef for your stew, even the cheap cuts will make tasty stew.  I bought beef bottom round rump roast since it was available.  The last time I made this stew I used beef chuck.
*I used dried thyme since I have plenty from the summer harvest.  I grew them in my garden and dried them for the winter months.  If you have fresh thyme then add 3-4 sprigs to the pot.

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