Friday, November 13, 2009

The Best Beef Stew EVER.


Last year I tried a Hungarian Beef Stew that I found in a Cook Illustrated issue. I enjoyed the stew, but let's face it, that is a lot of paprika! However, I was really impressed with how the stew was made and how it turned out. I started on a quest to find a cooks illustrated version of a regular beef stew. Now, I don't know if you have ever tried to find CI's recipes on the internet, but it is tough, but after much googling, I found one. When I made it, perfection. We ended up having this stew about once a month...whenever the chuck roast was on sale. I like it because the prep can be done earlier in the day (ie during naptime) and since it cooks in the oven, you don't even have to think about it until it is done. I doubled up on my soups and stews this month because a)my dad was coming for dinner and he demands MEAT and b)we were in the middle of a hurricane and it seemed like good stew weather. If you like beef stew, you must try this.


Serves 6 TO 8
Make this stew in an ovenproof Dutch oven, preferably with a capacity of 8 quarts but nothing less than 6 quarts. Choose one with a wide bottom; this will allow you to brown the meat in just two batches.
• 3 pounds beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
• Salt and ground black pepper
• 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 2 medium onions, chopped coarse (about 2 cups)
• 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
• 3 tablespoons flour
• 1 cup full-bodied red wine
• 2 cups homemade chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 teaspoon dried thyme
• 4 medium red potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1 -inch cubes
• 4 large carrots (about 1 pound), peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
• 1 cup frozen peas (about 6 ounces), thawed
• 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves

1. Adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position and heat the oven to 300 degrees. Dry the beef thoroughly on paper towels, then season it generously with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large ovenproof Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering, about 2 minutes. Add half of the meat to the pot so that the individual pieces are close together but not touching. Cook, not moving the pieces until the sides touching the pot are well-browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs, turn each piece and continue cooking until most sides are well-browned, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer the beef to a medium bowl, add another 1 tablespoon oil to the pot, and swirl to coat the pan bottom. Brown the remaining beef; transfer the meat to the bowl and set aside.

2. Reduce the heat to medium, add the remaining tablespoon oil to the empty Dutch oven, and swirl to coat the pan bottom. Add the onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently and vigorously, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to loosen browned bits, until the onions have softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the flour and cook until lightly colored, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine, scraping up the remaining browned bits from the bottom and edges of the pot and stirring until the liquid is thick. Gradually add the stock, stirring constantly and scraping the pan edges to dissolve the flour. Add the bay leaves and thyme and bring to a simmer. Add the meat and return to a simmer. Cover and place the pot in the oven. Cook for 1 hour.

3. Remove the pot from the oven and add the potatoes and carrots. Cover and return the pot to the oven. Cook just until the meat is tender, about 1 hour. Remove the pot from the oven. (Stew can be covered and refrigerated up to 3 days. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.)

4. Add the peas, cover, and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley, discard the bay leaves, adjust the seasonings, and serve immediately.


Big Dude said...

Stew looks and sounds great

Robin said...


KAJ said...

The best ever? Really?