How to Make Beef and Red Wine Stew
Stews are easy to make. Stewing is one pot cooking, a way to turn inexpensive and tougher cuts of meat into melting tenderness and a way to transform whatever you have on hand into a fantastic, stick-to-your-ribs winter meal.
Stews don’t really demand an exact recipe and they’re pretty forgiving, so once you understand the techniques involved in making a beef stew, you’ll be freed from the need for a cookbook – and that’s when cooking gets really enjoyable.
Here, as follows, are some instructions for making a basic beef stew.
Beef and Red Wine Stew
- 2 pounds of beef chuck, cut into 1 inch cubes. Try to get chuck if you can, rather than anything marked ‘stew beef’ from the supermarket - stew beef is a euphemism for ‘whatever’s left’ in supermarket speak!
- 1 big or 2 medium carrots, cut into largish but still bite sized chunks
- 1 large onion or 2 medium onions, chopped
- Half a bottle of dry red wine (Cabernet, Merlot, Bordeaux, Rioja...etc.)
- 2 Tbls of tomato paste
- 1-2 cups of beef broth, preferably low sodium (you’ll need enough just to cover the meat in the pot)
- 3 Tbls of flour
- 2 average sized potatoes, cut into bite sized chunks
- 2 bay leaves
- If you like the taste of rosemary, you can also add 1/3 tsp of fresh rosemary or a pinch of dried
- Salt and pepper to taste
Stew Making Instructions
- Preheat your stew pot over medium and add in a splash of vegetable oil to fry the beef cubes.
- Sprinkle salt and freshly cracked black pepper generously over the cubes of beef.
- When the pot has pre-heated, add in half the beef to the pan and fry it patiently until it has browned very well on all sides, and then take the meat out and reserve to a plate. Repeat with the remaining beef. You will be tempted to rush this step – DON’T RUSH THIS STEP! How tasty your stew will be is decided during the meat browning stage, and once you add your meat to the liquid, it cannot brown any further.
- Now that your beef is all resting on a platter, drain of all but about 3 Tbls of fat from the pot and toss in the carrots and onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened and browned slightly, about 5 minutes or so.
- Dump your 3 Tbls of flour into the vegetables and stir it all together well, stirring for a minute or 2, or until the flour has all been absorbed, incorporated into the veggies.
- Now, add in the wine and using a spoon, scrape the bottom of the pan to release any tasty browned bits into the mixture. Add the beef and any juices from the platter back to the pot and add in the tomato paste, bay leaf (rosemary if using) and enough beef stock to just cover the meat (between 1 and 2 cups - if you need more than that, you can add a little water).
- Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn the heat down to medium low (so that it just barely simmers) and cook, covered for 45 minutes.
- After 45 minutes, add in the potatoes and cook for another 30 – 45 minutes, or until the meat is very tender and the potatoes are cooked through.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste
A Very Good Cookbook
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