At just the briefest hint of a cool weather snap this past weekend, I was at my kitchen counter chopping and slicing the necessary ingredients for beef stew.
The thing about beef stew is that it can be incredibly simple or incredibly complicated – it just depends on who’s making it and the mood they happen to be in.
This weekend, I chose to use a recipe that’s heavy on red wine. The only drawback with a recipe like this is that the potatoes turn out looking a little purple, but they’ve got those fancy purple potatoes out now anyway, so who cares? I’m going to share how I made this particular batch of stew, but I’d love to hear how your recipe differs.
1. Cut a 2 or 2 1/2-lb. pot roast into 1-inch cubes. Toss in flour that has been seasoned with seasoned salt and pepper.
2. Heat a few tablespoons of vegetable oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat (I use a cast iron Dutch oven). Add beef chunks and brown nicely on the outside. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate or bowl and set aside.
3. Add a couple cloves of minced garlic, 2-3 stalks of celery (chopped), 3 carrots (sliced or chopped), and two large potatoes (chopped). Cook and stir frequently for about 5 minutes.
4. Whisk in 2 cups of a dry red wine, such as Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon, to deglaze pot. Whisk in two heaping tablespoons of Dijon mustard and one tablespoon of ketchup. Return meat to the pot, along with two bay leaves and some fresh thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until beef chunks are tender and broth has thickened. Salt and pepper to taste. Sometimes I add mushrooms near the end of the cooking time.
Do you use wine? Beef broth? What special herbs and spices do you add to give your stew a signature flavor? Do you have a favorite cut of meat for stew?