Beef Stew

Notes:

This is my version of a Cooks Illustrated recipe.  I strongly recommend you purchase their Best Recipe book (older) or the Cooks Illustrated Cookbook: 2000 Recipes from 20 Years…

I cut my meat a little smaller and cook the stew a little longer than the Cooks but their initial recipe was excellent.  It is even better served over mashed potatoes.

You need a 6 – 8 quart dutch oven and a way to heat it on the stove before putting it into the oven.  I have a glass stove-top (which doesn’t work well with cast iron) so I use a small butane catering stove (about $20) to start the stew before putting it into the oven.

Makes about 3 quarts (12 cups).

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds of beef chuck roast.  Cut into about 1″ cubes.
  • Salt and Pepper (2 Tbsp salt added to meat and 1.5 tsp pepper added when carrots are added)
  • 3 Tbsp clarified butter (or vegetable oil)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped (roughly)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (or 1.5 teaspoons prepared, minced)
  • 3 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1.5 lbs of red potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes (I didn’t peel them, I just washed them)
  • 1 lb of carrots (half a bag) peeled and sliced 1/4″ thick
  • 1 cup of frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup of fresh parsley leaves or 1 Tbsp of dried parsley

Instructions:

  1. Lower the oven rack so the pot will fit into the middle of the oven
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees
  3. Cut the beef and remove any excess water with paper towels (dry meat browns better)
  4. Heat 1 Tbsp of clarified butter or oil on medium-high heat in the dutch oven.  The oil should be very hot but not smoking.
  5. Put half the meat into the hot oil and brown it on all sides.
  6. Move the browned meat into a bowl to make room for the other half.
  7. Put another 1 Tbsp of oil into the dutch oven and brown the other half of the meat.
  8. Remove the second half of the meat.
  9. Reduce the heat to medium.
  10. Add another 1 Tbsp of oil and the chopped onions.
  11. Cook 4 – 5 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to loosen the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  12. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute (don’t cook longer because the garlic will burn).
  13. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 or 2 minutes until the flour is absorbed and starts to brown.  It will stick to the bottom of the pan but that is OK, adding the wine will de-glaze the pan.
  14. Add the wine and stir until the bottom of the pan is clean again.  The liquid will thicken.
  15. Slowly add the chicken broth so you don’t cool the mixture.  Stir together and scrape any residual mixture off the sides.
  16. Add the bay leaves, thyme, and the meat into the pot and heat until bubbling.
  17. Cover the pot and place it in the oven.
  18. Cook for 1 hour.
  19. While the stew is cooking, chop your vegetables and place them in a bowl.  cover them with cold water to keep them from turning brown.
  20. After 1 hour, remove the pot from the oven and add the potatoes and carrots (do not add the peas and parsley).
  21. Place the frozen peas into a container to allow them to thaw.
  22. Cook for another 1 to 1 1/2 hours until the meat and the vegetables are tender.
  23. Remove the pot from the oven, stir in the peas and parsley and serve.

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