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Classic Beef Stew

Classic Beef Stew

With cold weather blowing into North Texas there’s no better way to warm up than with a big steaming batch of beef stew.

Loaded with chunks of tender beef and a mountain of vegetables, this is the epitome of comfort simmered low and slow in red wine and rich beef stock.

Beef stew was a staple in our family. It was the perfect meal for a crowd and hearty enough to feed a crew of hungry cowboys, warming them from the cold Texas Panhandle winds.

Often made from Sunday’s leftover pot roast, chunks of beef were surrounded with sweet onions, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, corn, tomatoes and green beans or peas.

The choice of beef was always – and still is – chuck roast. With its heavy marbling it is the ideal cut for a long braising. I use about 5 pounds of meat because the engineer likes beef but adjust to suit your preferences. Season the meat before cooking and allow it to rest for a bit before searing in hot oil. This is your first step to those layers of flavor.

When choosing a wine for the stew, select a good red wine, one that you also enjoy drinking. Rule of thumb that always applies – if it’s not good enough to drink it’s not good enough for cooking! If you use a heartier wine, like a Cabernet Sauvignon you’re stew will have a bolder flavor. If you want a milder note, go for a Pinot Noir.

This recipe makes a large batch so it’s wonderful for a soup dinner or a tailgate gathering. If your guest list is on the small side, just cut the recipe in half. But keep in mind – the leftovers are wonderful!

Classic Beef Stew

4 to 5 pounds chuck roast, trimmed and cut into small pieces about 1-1/2”

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

4 tablespoons olive oil, more if needed for cooking the meat

1 large sweet onion, about 1 to 1-1/4 pounds, quartered and sliced

1 bottle good red wine such as a Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon or red blend, about 3-1/3 cups

4 cups beef broth

1 small can tomato paste, 6-ounces

3 bay leaves

2 tablespoons dried thyme

2 tablespoons dried parsley

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

1-1/2 pounds new potatoes, about 6, cubed – about 4 to 5 cups

½ pounds haricots verts or other green beans*, cut into 2” pieces – about 3 cups

4 to 5 carrots, scrubbed or peeled, cut into 2” pieces – about 3 cups

½ pound fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced – about 4 cups

2 packages frozen corn, 10-ounces each

1 to 2 cans plum tomatoes, 15-ounces each – broken up into pieces (If you like more of a tomato flavor, use both cans.)

1 to 2 tablespoons beef base, preferably “Better than Bouillon”

3 tablespoons butter, room temperature

3 tablespoons flour

Spread the beef out in a single layer. Sprinkle generously with the kosher salt and black pepper. Let the meat rest for about 20 minutes.

In a large Dutch oven warm the oil over moderately high heat – just slightly above medium heat. When the oil is hot, place a portion of the meat in the pan and brown on all sides, about 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the meat to a bowl and continue cooking until all the meat has been browned. Note: Cooking the meat in batches allows the meat to brown and not steam, creating that wonderful fond and a layer of flavor in the stew. If the temperature in the pan drops, allow it to warm back up before continuing, adding additional oil if needed.

After all the meat is cooked, add the sliced onions to the pan and cook until they are tender and somewhat translucent, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Pour the wine into the stockpot with the onions, stirring to deglaze the bits left in the bottom of the pan.

Return the beef to the pan and add the beef broth, the tomato paste, the bay leaves, dried thyme, dried parsley and brown sugar. Bring the liquid to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to medium low, cover and simmer for about 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until the meat is tender.

Add the potatoes, haricots verts, carrots, mushrooms, corn and tomatoes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the beef base. Cover and continue cooking on medium low for 1 hour or until the vegetables are tender and cooked through. Check for seasoning, adding the additional beef base if needed.

Blend the butter and flour together. Stir it into the stew to “tighten” the stock.

Cook for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Serves 8 to 10.

Classic Beef Stew, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

October 15, 2018
: 8 to 10

Loaded with chunks of tender beef and a mountain of vegetables, this is the epitome of comfort simmered low and slow in red wine and rich beef stock.

By:

Ingredients
  • 4 to 5 pounds chuck roast, trimmed and cut into small pieces about 1-1/2”
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, more if needed for cooking the meat
  • 1 large sweet onion, about 1 to 1-1/4 pounds, quartered and sliced
  • 1 bottle good red wine such as a Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon or red blend, about 3-1/3 cups
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 small can tomato paste, 6-ounces
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 pounds new potatoes, about 6, cubed – about 4 to 5 cups
  • ½ pounds haricots verts or other green beans*, cut into 2” pieces – about 3 cups
  • 4 to 5 carrots, scrubbed or peeled, cut into 2” pieces – about 3 cups
  • ½ pound fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced – about 4 cups
  • 2 packages frozen corn, 10-ounces each
  • 1 to 2 cans plum tomatoes, 15-ounces each – broken up into pieces (If you like more of a tomato flavor, use both cans.)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons beef base, preferably “Better than Bouillon”
  • 3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons flour
Directions
  • Step 1 Spread the beef out in a single layer. Sprinkle generously with the kosher salt and black pepper. Let the meat rest for about 20 minutes.
  • Step 2 In a large Dutch oven warm the oil over moderately high heat – just slightly above medium heat. When the oil is hot, place a portion of the meat in the pan and brown on all sides, about 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the meat to a bowl and continue cooking until all the meat has been browned.
  • Step 3 Note: Cooking the meat in batches allows the meat to brown and not steam, creating that wonderful fond and a layer of flavor in the stew. If the temperature in the pan drops, allow it to warm back up before continuing, adding additional oil if needed.
  • Step 4 After all the meat is cooked, add the sliced onions to the pan and cook until they are tender and somewhat translucent, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Step 5 Pour the wine into the stockpot with the onions, stirring to deglaze the bits left in the bottom of the pan.
  • Step 6 Return the beef to the pan and add the beef broth, the tomato paste, the bay leaves, dried thyme, dried parsley and brown sugar. Bring the liquid to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to medium low, cover and simmer for about 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until the meat is tender.
  • Step 7 Add the potatoes, haricots verts, carrots, mushrooms, corn and tomatoes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the beef base. Cover and continue cooking on medium low for 1 hour or until the vegetables are tender and cooked through. Check for seasoning, adding the additional beef base if needed.
  • Step 8 Blend the butter and flour together. Stir it into the stew to “tighten” the stock. Cook for another 10 to 15 minutes.


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