Simple Beef Stew


Beef Stew….

I could so go for a pot of this today. It’s cold and snowy (ok, just a dusting) and I’m still in my pajamas.

My mum made this a lot when we were kids but I only ever ate the potatoes (shocker). I now use a recipe I found in Cooking LIght, years ago. I’ve slightly modified it. Most recipes call for simmering on the stovetop for hours. No matter how low I turn down the gas, it’s not low enough. The meat doesn’t ever seem to tenderize…it just boils. I’ve taken a different approach and I now finish it off in the oven….At a very low heat (250). The meat just falls apart.

And who doesn’t love receiving roses after a good meal?

The original recipe can be found here:

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/basic-beef-stew-with-carrots-mushrooms-10000001142004/

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided $

  • 1 pound small cremini mushrooms $
  • Cooking spray $
  • 2 cups chopped onion $
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 ounces) $
  • 2 pounds lean beef stew meat, cut into bite-sized pieces $
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 cup dry red wine $
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans less-sodium beef broth $
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups (3/4-inch) cubed peeled white potato (about 1 pound)
  • 1 1/2 cups (1-inch) slices carrot (about 12 ounces) $
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper $
  • Fresh thyme sprigs (optional)

Preparation

  1. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, and sauté for 5 minutes or until mushrooms begin to brown.imageSpoon mushrooms into a large bowl. Lightly coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion; sauté 10 minutes or until tender and golden brown. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add onion mixture to mushroom mixture.
  2. Place flour in a shallow bowl or pie plate. Dredge beef in flour, shaking off excess. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add half of beef mixture; sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt. Cook 6 minutes, browning on all sides. Add browned beef to mushroom mixture. Repeat procedure with remaining beef mixture and 1/8 teaspoon salt.
  3. Add 1 cup wine to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add thyme, broth, and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Stir in beef mixture. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 1 hour or until beef is just tender.
  4. Stir in potato and carrot. Simmer, uncovered, 1 hour and 15 minutes or until beef and vegetables are very tender and sauce is thick, stirring occasionally. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Discard bay leaf. Garnish with thyme sprigs, if desired.

So the changes I made were to not let it hang on the stove top….put it in the oven. Also, I usually cook the carrots and potatoes beforehand. That way, I don’t ruin them by adding them to the stew before it’s ready. Once they’re cooked, add them about 15 minutes before you pull the stew out of the oven. Tender meat, non-mushy potatoes and carrots?? Heaven.

One last note, if your stew doesn’t thicken enough, throw in a few cooked potatoes, ahead of time. The starch will thicken it right up without the nasty taste of adding raw flour. 🙂

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