Hearty Beef Stew
I learned an important lesson tonight: It’s okay to follow simple recipes from Cook’s Illustrated without trying to get fancy, as I am frequently tempted to do. Last night I made the Hearty Beef Stew from their Cover & Bake collection of recipes. There is nothing complicated or fussy about it—it is pure comfort food.
Hearty Beef Stew
- 3 pounds chuck roast cut into 1.5-inch cubes (I used FreshDirect’s economical beef stew meat, despite my various protests about packaged food. At least this came from a real butcher.)
- Vegetable oil, for sautéing
- 2 onions, chopped coarsely
- 3 garlic cloves, minced or chopped
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 cups chicken, beef, or veal stock/broth (I used some frozen homemade veal stock)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 pound potatoes (I used Yukon Gold), cut into one-inch cubes
- 4 carrots, sliced however you like
- 1 cup frozen peas
- Preheat the oven to 300ºF. Dry the meat with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat one tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat in an an eight-quart ovenproof pot, and brown the meat in two batches on all sides. Make sure it is well browned. Reserve the meat in a bowl.
- Reduce the heat to medium, add a tablespoon of oil, and brown the onions with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir vigorously, scraping the pot with a wooden spoon.
- Once the onions are soft, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the flour, and cook it for about 2 minutes.
- Add the wine and continue to scrape the pot. Add the broth gradually, then add the bay and thyme. Add the meat and, once the mixture has returned to a simmer, cover the pot, and put it in the preheated oven for one hour.
- After an hour, add the potatoes and carrots. Return the pot to the oven, and cook for another hour. (Note: You can stop at this point, as I did, if you aren’t going to eat your stew today. Cool the pot at room temperature, cover tightly, and keep it in the fridge for a day or two. They say this improves a stew’s flavor.)
- After the second hour in the oven, add the peas, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes. (If you’re reheating, the pot will need about 30 minutes on the stove to soften up again). Discard the bay leaves, stir in the parsley, and serve.