Comfy Beef Stew

Dec 6th

This title is redundant as beef stew, by definition, is comfy.

Confession: My husband had to ask me to make him some red meat.

I don’t buy a lot of red meat because I don’t like the effects its production is having on our environment, and because buying organic is ludicrously expensive. Also, my husband thinks that he’s tired when his 6 am alarm goes off because he needs more iron in his diet (i.e., I’m not feeding him enough red meat). He’s correct in that red meat DOES contain loads of iron, not to mention protein, zinc, and B vitamins. Anyways… and so goes beef stew.

Here’s your meat lesson for the day. Americans buy meat for its tenderness, not its flavor. The more expensive beef tends to be from the muscles of the cow that get the least use — the midsection (filet mignon, strip steak, ribs). Because the muscles are not “worked”, the meat is finely marbled with fat and is more tender. The shoulders and rump contain the “tougher” meat (from muscles that are worked more). This ALSO happens to be the more FLAVORFUL meat. So, if you can figure out how to cook the tough meat, you will have cheaper AND more flavorful meats to cook.

To cook tough meat you want to go the “low and slow” route. This could mean braising, roasting, or stewing meat. Today we will “stew” our meat by cooking it in liquid for a long time at a low temperature.

Beef for stew is usually chuck roast, which could come from the shoulders, rump or leg. Usually it comes pre-cut but if not, just ask your butcher to cube you some chuck roast. Also, this recipe can be easily adapted to the crock pot. I will tell you how, though I made this in a dutch oven.

Comfy Beef Stew

Serves 6 

1 /2 c. flour

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

2 lb stew meat, cubed

3 tbsp. butter, divided

1 bay leaf

2 cloves garlic, smashed

3 c. beef broth, divided

1 lb. pearl onions, fresh or frozen

6 carrots, sliced

3 medium potatoes, chopped into 2 in. chunks

1 pkg. frozen peas (16 oz)

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. salt, or more to taste

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/2 c. red wine

3 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley, divided

*To making peeling your FRESH pearl onions A LOT easier, blanch them. Bring a pot of water to boil. Slice off the top of the onions (the pointy part). Add onions to water and boil 1-2 minutes. Drain and dump into an ice bath (large bowl filled with water and ice). Let sit for about five minutes, then just press each onion right out of the skin.

1. Mix first three ingredients together on a plate.

2. Dry beef on a paper towel and then coat in flour mixture.

3. Bring a dutch oven or skillet (if using dutch oven) to high heat and add 1 tbsp. butter.

4. Brown meat in three batches, making sure to brown the entire outside of each beef chunk (meat IS NOT getting cooked all the way through, just browned around the outside). Add a tbsp. of butter for each batch of meat.

5. Add all meat back to pan and add 2 c. beef broth, bay leaf, and garlic cloves.

6. Bring mixture to boil, and then reduce heat to the lowest setting and simmer for at least 1/2 hour. At this point, preheat oven to 250 degrees.

7. Add onion, carrots, and potatoes and stir to combine. If using a crock pot, set on low heat and add mixture to crock pot. Set timer for 4-5 hours.

8. Add 1 more cup of beef broth and cover pot. Place pot in preheated oven for several hours. At least 2, up to 5.

This is what it looks like when it comes out of the oven and you give it a good stir:

The meat is all fall-apart gorgeousness

9. Take out of oven about 1/2 hour before serving and add thyme, salt and pepper, and peas. Add wine and simmer 20 minutes.

10. Before serving, stir in 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley. Ladle into serving bowls, and sprinkle remaining parsley over the top.

This beef stew is brought to you by baby girl, who enjoyed a television program while I cooked:

Comfy Beef Stew

Serves 6 

1 /2 c. flour

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

2 lb stew meat, cubed

3 tbsp. butter, divided

1 bay leaf

2 cloves garlic, smashed

3 c. beef broth, divided

1 lb. pearl onions, fresh or frozen

6 carrots, sliced

3 medium potatoes, chopped into 2 in. chunks

1 pkg. frozen peas (16 oz)

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. salt, or more to taste

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/2 c. red wine

3 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley, divided

*To making peeling your FRESH pearl onions A LOT easier, blanch them. Bring a pot of water to boil. Slice off the top of the onions (the pointy part). Add onions to water and boil 1-2 minutes. Drain and dump into an ice bath (large bowl filled with water and ice). Let sit for about five minutes, then just press each onion right out of the skin.

1. Mix first three ingredients together on a plate.

2. Dry beef on a paper towel and then coat in flour mixture.

3. Bring a dutch oven or skillet (if using dutch oven) to high heat and add 1 tbsp. butter.

4. Brown meat in three batches, making sure to brown the entire outside of each beef chunk (meat IS NOT getting cooked all the way through, just browned around the outside). Add a tbsp. of butter for each batch of meat.

5. Add all meat back to pan and add 2 c. beef broth, bay leaf, and garlic cloves.

6. Bring mixture to boil, and then reduce heat to the lowest setting and simmer for at least 1/2 hour. At this point, preheat oven to 250 degrees.

7. Add onion, carrots, and potatoes and stir to combine. If using a crock pot, set on low heat and add mixture to crock pot. Set timer for 4-5 hours.

8. Add 1 more cup of beef broth and cover pot. Place pot in preheated oven for several hours. At least 2, up to 5.

9. Take out of oven about 1/2 hour before serving and add thyme, salt and pepper, and peas. Add wine and simmer 20 minutes.

10. Before serving, stir in 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley. Ladle into serving bowls, and sprinkle remaining parsley over the top.

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