It’s cold, then warm, then cold again. This winter the weather has been nothing short of weird if not downright concerning. While February usually has me braising, stewing and roasting, this year temperatures in the 70s have tempted me to pull out the grill and enjoy the mild weather. That is until the temperatures plunge and I find myself craving a belly warming dish like this hearty beef stew.
If you’ve never made a stew before the trick is low and slow. Plan on 30 minutes of active preparation for this recipe and then two hours for the stew to slowly simmer. The long cooking time ensures that the meat is fork-tender and, just as importantly, that your home smells delicious.
Browning the meat is the trickiest part of this recipe, but should not dissuade even the most novice cook from giving it a go. For best results, pat the cubes of beef dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper right before cooking. Get your pot nice and hot before you add the oil and certainly before you add any beef. The most common mistake I see in browning beef is overcrowding the pot. Too much beef in the pot causes the meat to steam instead of brown, but this can all be avoided if you cook the beef in two batches.
If your winter has been frigid, I hope this stew brings some much-needed warmth. And for those of you in milder climes, I wish you at least one chilly evening to make this classic winter dish. Happy cooking!
Hearty Beef Stew – Printer Friendly Recipe
Serves 4 to 6
This simple stew should be a fixture on your winter table. If looking to jazz things up, add parsnips, turnips, or potatoes to the mix for an even heartier main course.
2 lbs beef chuck roast, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 small carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups homemade or less-sodium store-bought beef broth
1 Turkish bay leaf
1 fresh thyme sprig
Garnish: chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Pat the beef cubes dry with a paper towel and season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the oil to the pot. Brown the beef in two batches, cooking each batch for about 6 to 8 minutes, and turning the beef as needed to brown each side. Once browned, remove the beef from the pot using a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add the carrot pieces, sliced celery and chopped onion to the pot. Cook, stirring often, for five minutes. Stir in the minced garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Carefully add the red wine and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Bring the wine to a strong simmer and let simmer until reduced by half. Stir in the tomato paste.
Return the browned beef and any accumulated juices to the pan and add the beef broth, bay leaf and thyme sprig. Bring the stew to a simmer. Stir once and then cover and simmer gently for 2 hours or until the beef is fork tender (easily comes apart with a fork).
Remove and discard the bay leaf and thyme sprig and season the stew to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with chopped parsley and then enjoy!