The Best Beef Stew
Make this stew from my Soups + Sides cookbook in a large, heavy-bottomed stove-to-oven soup pot, such as a Le Creuset. Cut a chuck roast into cubes for a melt-in-your-mouth flavorful beef; if you start with a 3-pound piece, you might end up with about 2 1/2 pounds after the fat is cut out. I like to brown the beef in 2 pots - the soup pot and another large skillet - to get twice the amount of flavorful brown bits left after sautéing. I usually cook the vegetables on the side to get the best texture and then add them to the stew.
1 (3-pound) piece beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes, trimming the fat away as you cut
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup red wine
3 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
6 medium red potatoes, peeled and quartered or cut into chunks for roasting
2 cups green beans, cut in half or thirds
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced on a diagonal
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Sprinkle the beef with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat in a large soup pot (or one soup pot and one large skillet). Brown the beef on all sides in 2 batches; try to avoid overcrowding so beef browns. Set aside.
- Add onions and sauté about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté another minute or so. Stir in the flour and cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring often. Add wine and tomato paste, scraping up any browned bits that may have stuck to pot. Add the stock, bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce and thyme; bring to simmer. Add meat; return to simmer, cover and put in the oven to cook until the beef is fork tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Meanwhile, place the potatoes on a baking sheet, and mix with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil; add salt to taste. Roast in a 350° oven until tender, about 40 minutes. Place the green beans in the top of a steamer set over boiling water and steam, 4 minutes. Run the beans under cold water to stop the cooking. Steam the carrots for 2 to 3 minutes; then run them under cold water.
- Just before serving, add the potatoes to the stew and reheat gently. Stir in the carrots, green beans and parsley. Season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.