Sunday, April 18, 2010

Beefy, stewy goodness

I've been developing this beef stew recipe for nearly 8 months and I've finally got it to where I would like it to be, as far as the cooking technique and the right ratio of ingredients. I'm still kicking myself because, the first time I made this, I didn't write down what I was doing! Let this be a cautionary tale for you: When playing about in the kitchen, keep a notebook! Michael Smith does it, now I do, and so should you!

Anyway, enjoy this stew. It's really simple to make, tastes great, and I love any recipe that allows me to do all the work before company arrives so that I can start things off with a clean, clutter-free kitchen.

Beef Stew
(download PDF here)

Ingredient List
stewing beef (~ 500 g)
onions (2 medium)
garlic (5 cloves)
tomato paste (156 mL/5.5 fl oz can)
beef broth (2-3 cups)
red wine or beer (1-2 cups)
potatoes, white or Yukon Gold (3 medium)
carrots (4 medium)
vegetable oil (2 tbsp)
bay leaves (3)
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper

Directions
Cube 500 g stewing beef into large, bite-size pieces. Allow beef to come to room temperature while preparing remaining ingredients.

Finely dice 2 medium onions and mince 5 garlic cloves. Set aside.

Pat beef dry with paper towel and liberally season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil over medium high heat, in a dutch oven or other oven-proof vessel with lid. Brown one batch of beef in a single layer in the oil for approximately 2 minutes per side, until golden brown. Remove browned beef to a plate. Add more vegetable oil to the dutch oven and repeat with the remaining batches of beef.

Add diced onions to the empty dutch oven and cook them until they soften, approximately 3-5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute. Add 1 can tomato paste and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Return the beef and its juices to the dutch oven and pour over enough liquid to completely submerge the beef. Aim for an approximate ratio of 2 cups beef broth for every 1 cup red wine or beer.

Peel 1 medium potato and shred it with a box grater. Add the shredded potato to the stew, along with 3 bay leaves, kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper. Bring the stew to a boil, then cover the dutch oven with the lid and bake in oven for one hour.

Peel and cube 2 medium potatoes and add to stew. Return stew to oven for another hour.

Peel and cut 4 medium carrots into coins and add to stew. Return stew to oven for another 30 minutes-1 hour. The stew is ready when the beef is fall-apart tender and the vegetables are cooked through.

Optional: Just before serving, add 2 cups frozen green peas and/or 1 package chopped spinach, thawed and drained, or serve stew over a bed of fresh baby spinach.

Makes 6 one cup servings.

Notes
A chuck roast (from the shoulder) or some other tough cut is best for stewing. When buying generic “stewing beef”, choose a package with good marbling and lots of connective tissue.

Nutrition (per serving)
Calories 438
Total fat 11 g
Saturated fat 3 g
Cholesterol 74 mg
Sodium 750 mg
Carbohydrate 46 g
Dietary fibre 9 g
Sugars 18 g
Protein 35 g
Vitamin A 167%DV
Vitamin C 82 %DV
Calcium 9 %DV
Iron 39 %DV

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