Saturday, 5 January 2013

Beef Stew

Hearty beef stew is the perfect winter comfort food. Great dish to serve to a large group as you can prepare it ahead of time and then serve it with fresh bread buns or biscuits!! I often make a big pot for my family, knowing we will have leftovers as this stew just keeps getting better even after re-heating.  I love to use boneless beef blade steak but you can use whatever stew meat you want, but what is really important is that you brown the meat before adding it to the stew. I like to add a nice hardy red wine but you can omit it if you like, just add more beef broth. I usually add fresh herbs but you can substitute dried herbs. I like to add a little sweet potato and parsnips to my stew and sometimes sauteed mushrooms, it just depends what I have in my cupboard. Sometimes I don't add any potatoes into the stew,instead, I serve the stew over mashed potatoes anyway is awesome!!

3-4 pounds Boneless beef blade steak
6-8 slices chopped bacon
Canola oil 2-4 Tablespoons
Kosher salt and freshly ground salt and pepper
2 onions, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
6 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons butter
⅓ Cup plus 6 Tablespoons flour
1 Cup red wine
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
4-6 Cups beef broth
1 teaspoon marjoram leaves
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
1 bay leaf
1 Teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
4-6 chopped carrots
Approximately 1 ½ pounds potatoes, use either baby potatoes or peeled and chopped whole potatoes.
Optional: sweet potatoes or parsnips or sauteed mushrooms

Preheat oven to 325 degrees
In a large Dutch oven or large pot, cook chopped bacon until brown and crisp.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon and drain on a paper towels, set aside.
Cut steak into small pieces (approximately 1-1/1/2 inches)
Combine ⅓ Cup flour, salt and pepper in a big Ziplock bag.
In batches add cubed beef and shake and distribute flour on beef.
Add beef to hot bacon fat, adding more oil as needed while browning the meat.
Brown the meat on all sides, removing to a plate, adding more oil as needed and continue until all the meat is done. Add more ground pepper to meat as it is cooking.
Once all the meat is browned, lower temperature to medium, add onions and celery, cook until soft about 5 minutes.
Add garlic, stir one minute more.
Add butter, stir.
Sprinkle in 6 tablespoons flour, stir.
Add red wine, stir scraping all the bits from the pan.
Gradually stir in the beef broth.
Add tomato paste, bay leaf, marjoram,thyme,parsley and rosemary.
Add the browned beef and bacon, stir and cover with a lid and cook in the oven for 1 ½ hours.
Remove pot from the oven and add the potatoes and carrots, stir, re-cover, and continue cooking until the meat and potatoes are tender approximately 1-1 ½ hours. Add more beef broth if the sauce is too thick. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Print Recipe:Beef Stew
Chop beef into cubes.

Cook bacon until brown and crisp.
Remove bacon and drain on paper towel.

Add flour and salt and pepper to Ziplock bag. Add beef in small batches.

Shake to distribute the flour evenly.

Add floured beef in small batches to the hot bacon fat, adding more oil as needed until  all the meat has been browned.

Brown the meat on all sides, and then remove to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium, add onions and celery, stirring until vegetables are soft.

Add garlic, cook for one minute.

Add butter, stir and melt.

Add 6 Tablespoons of flour, stir.

Add red wine, and while your at it pour yourself a glass too!!

Stir mixture scrapping up all the nice yummy bits from the bottom of the pan.

Gradually add beef broth and continue stirring.

Add tomato paste. My tomato paste here was frozen.

Add herbs and seasonings.

Stir in seasonings.
Add beef to pot, stir.

Add bacon, stir in.

Cover pot, and bake in 325 degree oven for 1-1 1/2 hours. Then add carrots and potatoes and continue cooking until meat and vegetables are tender. Add more beef broth if needed.

Season to taste.
Serve with fresh bread or biscuits.

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