Friday, February 22, 2013

The Best Beef Stew

When the weather turns cold, I love soul-warming dishes like chili, pasta fagioli, and red lentil soup. But at the end of the day, nothing beats a really good beef stew. With February winding down and visions of spring gardens dancing in my head, I thought this would be a perfect recipe to share. With a few special ingredients, this stew has such a deep, flavorful sauce. Potatoes, carrots, and peas never had it so good. What's that? You don't see peas in the picture above? That's because I received a special request to leave them out. Again. (I think Andrew thinks he might die if he actually eats one.) If you have your own picky eaters to deal with, dish theirs out first, then add the peas to the pot.

Beef Stew
Makes 6 servings

What I use:
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic in oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped (about 1/2 c.)
  • 1 lb. beef stew chunks, cut into bite size pieces
  • 4 c. beef broth
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 3 medium yukon gold potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
  • 8 oz. baby carrots, cut in half
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 c. frozen peas

How I do it:

1. In a soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat.

2. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, but not brown, about 30 seconds.

3. Add the onions and cook for 2 minutes.

4. Add the beef and cook until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes.

5. Add the beef broth, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and Italian seasoning. Stir it all up.

6. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for one hour. (You can use a lid if you want, but I think it makes the stew too watery.)

7. Add the potatoes and carrots and cook until tender, 30 to 45 minutes.

8. In a small container with a tight lid, add the water and flour. Shake to combine. (If you have a mini sous chef running around, this would be a perfect job for them. Make sure that lid is tight!)

9. Stirring constantly, slowly pour the flour water into the stew. It will take a minute to thicken. (Too thin for you? Mix up some more flour water and add it one tablespoon at a time. Too thick? Add more water 1/4 cup at a time.)

10. Turn off the stew and toss in the frozen peas.

Serve on a chilly day.

Need some bread to soak up all the goodness? Try the loaf I serve with my Meatball Noodle Soup.

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