Saturday, November 2, 2013

Easy Beef Stew Recipe

I love a good beef stew. It has to have layers of flavour and beef that is slow cooked for it to be full of stew goodness for me.  This recipe is pretty simple- add ingredients to a dutch oven pot + slow cook everything in the oven for a few hours.  I like to make it on the weekend to have during the week- it heats up well as leftovers or from individual containers that had been stored in the freezer.

Start off by patting off your cubes of beef with a paper towel to remove moisture. Add salt and pepper generously, then place in a hot pot (I recommend cast iron) that has a bit of canola oil in the bottom.  You can roll the beef pieces in a dusting of flour- it will help thicken the sauce- before placing them in the pot if you'd like. I didn't do this step this time but have done it in the past.  Don't play with them when they're in the pot- let them get brown.  When they're ready to be flipped over, they'll turn over easily. If they're stuck to the bottom of the pot, they aren't ready yet. Also, you may need to brown them in batches- don't overcrowd the pot or else the meat will start to boil.  You need room around the pieces of meat to let steam escape.

Once the meat has been browned, add 1/4 cup of chopped onion, 2 garlic cloves and a small can of tomato paste.  Let it cook for a few minutes, mixing it with the beef.  You can also add a splash of red wine, a splash of balsamic vinegar, or a splash of coffee to the mixture if you'd like.  Then, add 4 cups of beef broth (I like the reduced sodium broth so I can control the salt level), 1 small package of whole mushrooms (about 8-10 mushrooms in total), 6-7 small carrots cut into wedges, 1 tbsp of thyme, and 1 sprig of rosemary.  Add 1/4 tsp of sea salt and a few pinches of pepper.
Awesome local carrots from the farmers market. I like leaving the skins on, they are packed with nutrition.
Mix together, then put in the oven at 325 degrees, with a lid on the pot.  Let it cook for 2.5 hours.

After 2.5 hours have passed, add the potatoes and green beans.  Put the lid back on and let it cook for another 45 minutes or a bit longer.  When the potatoes break down, they help thicken the broth.
This is what it looks like after 2.5 hours in the oven.
Serve it with a rustic country bread or roll, and a few pickles on the side.  I love having stew with beet pickles.  You can add vegetables as you like- if green beans aren't your thing, then maybe sweet potato or turnip would work better.

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