Beef stew for a winter day

Beef stew simmering on the stove.

Beef stew simmering on the stove.

We’re sitting at the end of 2018 with a day to go before New Year’s Eve and I’ve been craving a stew. It really hasn’t been that cold in Austin to warrant making a stew, but the past couple days have been grey and chilly and I really started thinking a stew would be perfect.

You should know by now that we don’t follow recipes step by step and luckily it always turns out well. We’ve realised most measurements are only suggestions since when grandmothers would make the recipes they didn’t pull out a measuring spoon to get exactly 1/4 tablespoon of sugar or 1 teaspoon of thyme.

So, with that in mind, we set out to find a stew recipe that we wanted to loosely base our creation on. This is our second attempt at documenting our stew making process. A couple of years ago we made a pot roast stew with beer and paprika and many more vegetables. To be honest, almost all of them were so similar that I think it just comes down to using good meat, vegetables and simmering for a long time. The proportions of the different ingredients will change the ultimate flavor but I was pretty sure it would turn out great regardless of how you combined them. In the end, we selected a recipe from Once Upon a Chef as our primary source for inspiration into this afternoon project.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds of boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 1 to 1 1/2 cubes
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 8 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups of red wine
  • 2 cubs of beef broth (we used beef bullion)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch slices on the diagonal
  • 1 pound potatoes cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 stalk celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • Freshly chopped parsley (optional)

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 325 F and put a rack in the middle.

Pat your beef dry with a paper towel and generously season with the salt and pepper. Using a large Dutch Oven, heat one tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Then in 3 batches, brown the beef in the olive oil for about 5 minutes per batch. Turn the beef while browning with tongs and don’t crowd the beef while it’s browning. You can add a tablespoon of oil between batches if there isn’t enough grease in the Dutch oven. Once each batch is brown, transfer to a separate dish and place aside.

Once you finish your last batch of beef, put the onions, garlic and balsamic vinegar into the Dutch oven. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape off the brown bits from the bottom of the Dutch oven. Cook for about 5 minutes.

Add your tomato paste and cook for another minute.

Add the beef and juices back to the Dutch oven with the onions and garlic mixture and sprinkle with the flour. Mix this together until the flour is dissolved, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the beef broth, water, wine, bay leaves, thyme and sugar to the mixture and stir it all together. Bring to a boil then cover the Dutch oven with a lid and transfer to your preheated oven. Let it cook in the oven for 2 hours.

At the end of two hours, take the Dutch oven out of the oven and add your carrots, potatoes and celery. Stir in the vegetables and then put the lid back on the pot and place simmer for at least one hour over low heat. Cook for an additional hour, until the vegetables are tender and the meat is fall apart tender. You can place the Dutch oven back in the oven as it was done in our source recipe, however, we needed the oven to make bake some bread so we finished it on the stove top. It turned out fine.

Serve warm.

Here are a few pictures of our process along the way.

For best results, cut your beef into 1 to 1-1/2 inch cube pieces.

For best results, cut your beef into 1 to 1-1/2 inch cube pieces.

Brown the beef cubes on each side.

Brown the beef cubes on each side.

Here are the beef cubes browning.

Here are the beef cubes browning.

Here is the picture of right after we added the beef and it's juices to the onions and garlic.

Here is the picture of right after we added the beef and it’s juices to the onions and garlic.

Here is the stew right after we added the beef broth, wine and water to the pot.

Here is the stew right after we added the beef broth, wine and water to the pot.

This is what it looks like after 2 hours in the oven braising.

This is what it looks like after 2 hours in the oven braising.

Beef stew simmering on the stove.

Beef stew simmering on the stove.

 

Sunday Pot Roast Stew

Beef Stew in bowl

Pot Roast Beef Stew

Cold, wintry days scream for a hot stew at dinner time. This is the kind of stew that you get anxious as the bowl gets empty because you don’t want it to end. If I didn’t care about portion size or my waist size, I would have kept eating until this was all gone! This stew takes a little more time than we have to spend on week nights so it’s a great stew to make on a Sunday afternoon. Just put it all together and let it simmer until you’re ready to eat. We threw this together after looking for some recipes online. We couldn’t find a recipe that really matched what we wanted so we just picked the pieces we wanted to include in our stew. It really only takes about 1/2 hour to get the ingredients ready and cooked and then another 1 1/2 to 2 hours on a simmer.

I think of this recipe as having three steps. First you brown the meat. Then you get the vegetables cooked. Finally, you add the meat back to the vegetables and let the stew simmer for 2 hours.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds of roast cut into cubes (sirloin or chuck roast)
  • 2 tablespoons of bacon fat or oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon of bacon fat
  • 3 carrots, unpeeled, cut into 1/4 inch discs
  • 1 large (or two medium) yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 turnip, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 red potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 12oz can of beer (we used Michelob Ultra)
  • 1 tablespoon smoke paprika

Directions

Heat the first 2 tablespoons of bacon fat or oil in a large dutch oven.

Start by cutting your roast into cubes and getting the meat ready to cook. Then sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper and 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour. coat the meat thoroughly. Let it sit for a couple of minutes and the flour will be absorbed. Now, add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour and mix into the meat to give it a good coating.

Put the meat into the hot bacon fat or oil and brown for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally until the meat is browned on all sides. For example, while it was browning, we turned the meat every 2 minutes or so. Once browned, remove the meat into a heat-safe bowl. You could also brown this in 2 batches or use a big skillet where all the meat can be on one level. Our dutch oven didn’t allow us to have one layer so we had to mix it more than normal.

Stew beef browning in dutch oven

Stew beef browning in dutch oven.

Add the additional tablespoon of bacon fat to the dutch oven and let it melt. Once melted, add the carrots, onion, diced turnip and diced celery stalks. Cook over medium-high heat until the vegetables cook down for about 10 minutes.

Carrots, onion, celery carrots, onion, diced turnip and diced celery stalks cooking in the dutch oven.

Carrots, onion, celery carrots, onion, diced turnip and diced celery stalks cooking in the dutch oven.

Then, add the potatoes and garlic and gently fold into the other vegetables. Now add the thyme and rosemary and mix well.

All the vegetables and spices added to the dutch oven.

All the vegetables and spices added to the dutch oven.

Then add the meat back into the dutch oven and pour in the beef broth, beer and smoked paprika. Bring the mixture to a boil in the uncovered dutch oven.

The beef has been added to the vegetables and spices.

The beef has been added to the vegetables and spices.

Once you reach a boil, cover the pot and reduce for a simmer. Simmer for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the meat and potatoes are tender.

The pot roast stew simmering in the dutch oven.

The pot roast stew simmering in the dutch oven.

Our Sunday Beef Stew

This is our beef stew after it has simmered for a couple of hours. As you can see, the liquid has thickened up and become a nice, rich, brown gravy.