Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Stave Off Chilly Weather with Beef Stew

One of the original reasons for starting this blog was to save recipes I'd made (and liked) and to have an easy way to look them up. Well, after ten-plus years and nearly 450 recipes later, I've got quite the stash!

Still, sometimes I'll go to search for a particular favorite just to make sure I've got all the ingredients I need for dinner that night and…oops…I'll realize that I never posted it here. So then I go to my old recipe box (left) and hope against hope that at some point in the pre-digital past—you know, like when dinosaurs roamed the earth and people still argued over who was the guy in that movie—I had scribbled it on a 3" by 5" card and filed it under the correct category. Or if that doesn't reveal my prey, then it's searching online to find a recipe that'll approximate what I'm looking for, always a risky proposition.

Luckily, in the case of my favorite beef stew recipe, the card was in the box and was even filed under "Fish and Meats," just behind artichoke chicken casserole and in front of smoked salmon pasta. Originally a women's magazine recipe that my mother tore out of a Better Homes and Gardens circa 1976 (yes, that's noted on the file card, too), I'd copied it down in case I needed a big, meaty, company's-coming dish to haul out for a special occasion.

She'd made it many times for just such eventualities, whether a church supper or to impress a business associate that my father was bringing home, one of those hearty one-dish dinners that would always be a guaranteed rave-inducer. See why I wanted to find it? And now that it's here, I'm hoping you'll find it as satisfying and useful as my mother did, and I always do.

Mom's Beef Stew

4 lbs. chuck roast, cut in 1" pieces
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
3/4 c. flour
1 Tbsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. dried thyme or tarragon
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 1/2 c. carrots, sliced into rounds
2 1/2 c. dry red wine
3 bay leaves
1 tsp. each thyme and basil
3 medium potatoes, sliced into 3/4" or so cubes (other root vegetables work great, too)
Salt to taste

In paper bag or gallon zip-lock plastic bag, place flour, salt, pepper and teaspoon of herbs. Shake to combine.

Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. While oil heats, add beef cubes, eight or so at a time, to the flour mixture in the bag and shake to coat them. When the oil shimmers, add the coated beef cubes to the pot, adding more floured cubes and browning them. Make sure you don't crowd the beef, though, or you'll end up steaming them in juice rather than browning them. As they brown, remove them from the pot to a platter, and add more floured beef cubes to the pot.

When all the beef has been browned and has been removed to the platter, add the onions and garlic to the pot, scraping up the browned bits of flour from the bottom as the vegetables sauté. When they're tender, add the meat back to the pot along with the carrots, wine, bay leaves and herbs. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for one hour. At that point, if it seems too dry, add another half-cup or so of wine. Add cubed potatoes to the pot and continue simmering for an additional hour or more until the beef is completely tender.


Peggy said...

Delicious! Didn't have carrots in the fridge, so used sweet potatoes. Great recipe - a keeper!

Kathleen Bauer said...

So glad you enjoyed the stew…it's a real belly-warmer. Thanks, Peggy.