Saturday, November 2, 2013

Easy Beef Stew

( 4 servings)

It's been a while since I made stew and when I came across this recipe at CHOW, I felt inspired.

I changed proportions and ingredients somewhat because of what I had on hand. But, I followed the method of cooking the meat and onions first, then adding the remaining vegetables. The resulting stew was delicious and reheated beautifully the next day.

adapted from a recipe at CHOW
1/4 cup rice flour (or regular flour)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly cracked pepper
1 1/2 lbs lean stewing beef, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 tbsp double concentrated tomato paste
1/4 tsp dried thyme
2 small bay leaves
1 1/2 cups red wine
3 cups beef broth
1/2 lb mushrooms, cleaned and cut in half or quartered
2 stalks celery, diced
3 carrots, sliced
4 small Yukon Gold potatoes, diced (about 3/4 lb)
1 cup frozen green peas

Combine the rice flour, salt ad pepper until well mixed. Place into a large Ziploc bag and add the meat and toss.

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a dutch oven or heavy pot with a tight fitting lid. Shake the excess flour mixture off the meat (keeping the excess in the bag) and add half the meat to the pot. Fry, the meat until browned and place into a bowl. Add the second tablespoon of oil to the pot and fry the remaining meat.

There was quite a lot of browned rice flour covering the bottom of the pot. It wasn't easy to scrape up and I didn't  want it to burn, so I added a quarter cup of water. I was then able to scrape up all of the flavorful browned bits from the bottom of the pot to which I added the onions. The water and rice flour mixture thickened up as it cooked coating the onions. There was a bit of flour, salt and pepper mixture remaining in the plastic bag which I sprinkled over the onion mixture as it was cooking.

Stir the tomato paste into the onions, then add the thyme, bay leaves, red wine and beef broth. Return the meat and its juices to the pot. Bring everything to a brisk simmer, then reduce the flame to low and cook uncovered for about 1 1/2 hours.

Stir in the mushrooms, celery, carrots and potatoes. Cover the pot and cook for another hour or until the vegetables are tender. Give everything a good stir about halfway through the cooking time.

Remove the bay leaves and check and adjust the seasoning if needed, with salt and pepper. Stir in the peas and cook for another 5 minutes until they are heated through. Serve.

This stew seems even more flavorful when reheated the next day!

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