Kim’s Beef Stew
by Kim Becker
There’s honestly nothing better than beef, braised in red wine with vegetables, simmered for hours. The aroma alone will lure everyone to your kitchen. Hearty and satisfying, beef stew is classic comfort food.
The ingredient list may look long, but it needn’t be intimidating. Once it’s put together, you can “set it and forget it,” leaving you free to do other things while it hangs out in the oven for a couple of hours.
As with any stew, the key to developing a full-flavor is to properly brown the meat. Work in small batches using a very hot pan. Be careful not to crowd the meat; this will cause it to steam instead of brown. All of the browned bits at the bottom of the pan hold bold, beefy flavor. Use a wooden spoon to scrape them up and mix into the broth, creating a rich, flavorful sauce that will permeate the dish.
This stew is even better made a day ahead and refrigerated, which makes it a fabulous dish to prepare ahead of time for a dinner party. Just reheat in the oven, and your house will smell like you’ve been cooking all day.
Staying in is the new going out, so cheers to weekends, to slow cooking, to neighbors over and to savoring all that chilly weather has to offer. Your stomach and your soul will be satisfied. Enjoy!
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 medium yellow onions, cut in half and sliced vertically
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 ½ pounds beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes*
¼ cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
½ cup red wine (or add more broth)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
3 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 medium parsnips, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon or whole-grain mustard
2 cups chicken or beef broth
1-2 tablespoons butter
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
1 cup frozen peas
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot with a lid, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Cook the onions and garlic over medium-high heat until softened (about 15 minutes). Transfer cooked onions to bowl.
Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. In batches, dredge the cubes of beef in the flour mixture.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the pan and brown the beef in batches; add more oil as needed between batches. Do not crowd the pan; let the beef sear without moving until it releases easily from the pan and the underside is golden-brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs, flip the pieces and sear on the other side. Transfer browned beef to bowl with onions.
Deglaze pan with wine, scraping up all the brown bits with a wooden spoon. Add onions and beef, bay leaf, thyme, carrots, parsnips and tomato paste. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, mustard and broth. Cover the pot and place in the oven. Cook for 2 hours.
While stew is cooking, sauté the mushrooms in 1 tablespoon melted butter for 10 minutes, until lightly browned.
Take the pot out of the oven and stir mushrooms and peas into the stew. If you prefer a thicker gravy, combine 1 tablespoon of leftover flour mixture with 1 tablespoon softened butter and stir into stew. Cover pot and return to oven for 30 minutes. Remove bay leaf and garnish with parsley.
*Skip precut chunks of meat and pick up a chuck roast instead. Then, 15 minutes before you’re ready to prep it, pop the beef into the freezer. The partially frozen meat will be firmer, making it easier to trim and chop into evenly sized pieces.
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