Beef Stew

One of the first recipes I made out of Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food was Beef Stew. I missed my mom’s cooking and I remembered beef stew fondly for its savory, hearty comfort and ability to be paired deliciously with thick noodles for beef noodle soup. It was a rousing success the first time and now that I’ve made it three times I figure it’s definitely something to blog home about! If you like it as much as I do, the best part is that it makes plenty for leftovers. So here, paraphrased from Alice Waters, is a very simple recipe for Beef Stew. This might be illegal… maybe?

  • ~3 lbs beef chuck, cut into 1-2 inch cubes and seasoned with coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 4-6 strips of bacon, diced
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine
  • a couple tablespoons brandy (optional)
  • 2 or 3 each of carrots and parsnips (optional), chopped into large pieces
  • 1-2 medium onions, quartered
  • a couple sprigs each of thyme, parsley, rosemary/savory
  • 4 whole cloves, each stuck into a quarter of onion
  • 2 star anise
  • a couple peppercorns
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • a small head of garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • ~4 cups chicken or beef broth
  1. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet or wok and cook bacon until fat is rendered and bacon is lightly browned but not crisp. Remove bacon.
  2. In batches, brown the beef on all sides in the bacon fat and transfer to a large pot.
  3. Pour off most of the fat from the skillet and cook the carrots, parsnips, and onions with the herbs, anise, and peppercorns until lightly browned. Transfer to pot with the beef.
  4. Add the brandy to the skillet if using, and the red wine. Scrape up any browned bits from the skillet and boil the wine until reduced to 1/3. Pour over the beef and vegetables in the pot.
  5. Add the tomatoes, garlic, and broth to the pot. The liquid should come up at least 3/4 of the way up to the top of the beef/vegetables; add more broth if needed. It does not need to cover the ingredients entirely.
  6. Cook at barely a simmer for 2-3 hours or until meat falls apart when tested with a fork. Season to taste with salt and serve over rice.

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