Sunday, January 27, 2008

beef stew

beef stew

Ah comfort food! There is something about a big bowl of beef stew on a cold, rainy night that just seems like perfection. I use champagne, or other dry white wine, because it gives a slightly sweet and bright flavor. It also keeps the color of the stew from turning that purpley grey color you can sometimes get with red wine. You can certainly substitute red wine, beer or more broth, if you prefer though.

Serve this stew in a big cappuccino mug with a thick slice (or two!) of homemade bread on the side. Pop a movie in the dvd player, get comfy and prepare for a cozy night in.

Beef Stew

2 1/2 pounds pot/chuck roast, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
~4 tablespoons oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup flour
2 cups champagne
4 cups beef broth
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 pounds baby potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
~1/2 pound mushrooms, quartered or sliced
2 cups frozen green peas
additional salt and pepper to taste

Mix 1/2 cup flour, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper together in a plastic bag. Add cubed beef and shake until pieces are coated with flour. In large stock pot, over medium high heat, brown the cubed beef in batches using a tablespoon of oil at a time (meat does not need to be cooked through). Remove browned meat to a separate bowl as you finish browning the rest of the beef.

In same pot, over medium heat, saute onion in 1 tablespoon of oil, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Once the onions have softened and begun to turn translucent, add 1/4 cup flour and cook onions and flour together for a couple of minutes. Pour champagne and beef broth slowly into pot, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Add the browned beef (and any juices that may have rendered out), bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

After simmering for 1 1/2 hours, add carrots and potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes, or until carrots and potatoes are tender. Remove bay leaf. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. 5 minutes before serving, add frozen peas, cooking just until peas are heated through.

Makes 10 servings


As with any recipe, feel free to add or omit any herbs and vegetables that you choose.

1 large onion is equal to about 2 cups.

Save time and buy "baby" carrots and cut them in half.

I like to use red or dutch yellow potatoes, cut in quarters. Leave the skins on.

Another shortcut is to buy a 10 oz. package of pre-sliced mushrooms.

This stew tastes even better the next day. It freezes well too.

beef stew

More pictures at Flickr