Hey, it's December in Oregon so I guess it should come as no surprise that it's cold and wet outside. The perfect weather for some good ole' rib sticking beef stew. For you vegetarians out there, just think of it as tofu with actual flavor.
A few weeks ago we bought a package of chuck roast from Costco. Now if any of you shop at this mecca of excess, you'll know there's no such thing as a small anything there. As a result of this, we had pot roast with half of what we originally bought and froze the rest. Not wanting to have post roast back to back, we decided to thaw out the remaining side of beef and make stew out of it. Thought I'd share a few photos of the cooking process and a loose adaptation of the recipe.
If you decide to make this and are looking at the quantities of ingredients, just remember it can all be altered. Add or subtract to your hearts content.
1/4 cup +/- Oil
3# Beef Chuck Roast (or other stew meat)
1 cup Flour
1/2 cup Red Wine
2 cups ea. Yellow Onion, Celery and Carrots
8 cloves Garlic
2 14.5 ounce cans Italian Stewed Tomatoes
3-4 cups Mushrooms
4 cups Potatoes
2-3 Bay Leaves
In a heavy skillet, heat the oil. Cut the chuck roast into large cubes and dredge in the flour. Brown meat in oil over high heat. Cook in small batches leaving plenty of room in the pan so the meat can be browned on all sides without it sticking together. Put all the cooked meat into a large soup pan.
When the last of the meat has been browned, drain any remaining oil and add the red wine. Deglaze the pan with the wine and pour the liquid into the soup pan. (basically this means to bring the wine to a boil in the pan and scrape/loosen any of the browned bits with a wooden spoon.)
This is a important part of the cooking process. Don't simply discarding them, those little browned bits in the bottom of the skillet have a tremendous amount of flavor. If you don't have any wine on hand to deglaze with, you can use water instead.
Cut the Onions, Celery and Carrots into large pieces. (about one inch cubes) Dice the garlic. In the skillet with about a tablespoon of oil, lightly saute the vegetables then put into the soup pot.
Cover the meat and veges with water and bring to a simmer. If you have any homemade beef stock on hand this is a perfect opportunity to use it here.
Quarter the mushrooms. Peel and cut the potatoes into large cubes. Place into soup pot.
If you have a nine year old in the house, ask him (or her) to open the cans of tomatoes. This will vastly improve the chances that they will want to eat dinner later. Trust me, it always tastes better if you let them help you! Put the tomatoes and bay leaves into the soup pot.
Simmer for about 2 - 2 1/2 hours.
Season with a little salt and black pepper.
About a half an hour into the simmering I like to skim the top of the stew to remove any oil or fat from the meat that has accumulated at the top of the pan.
I also think cornbread is the perfect accompaniment to beef stew. (cause that's the way mom always did it.) Homemade is always a nice touch, but mixes are soooo much easier. This night we used a mix from Bob's Red Mill (a local company) It was mighty tasty.