Classic Beef Stew

 
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The holidays are over and I’m still recuperating from all the energy and chaos that comes along with Christmas and New Year's Eve. I've been seeking out more coziness, warmth, and quiet in daily life this month. I always enjoy making food for people, but right now what feels good is inviting a close friend or two over for a simple meal and deep conversation.

This classic beef stew is perfect for a laid back winter gathering. There's no pomp and circumstance or table setting required - it goes from oven to table seamlessly. Just put a stack of bowls and warm bread on the table, and invite everyone to dig in!

As with lots of other stews, the flavor only gets better the longer it sits. So I recommend making the dish the day before and heating it back up just before serving. Sometimes I like to pour the stew over garlic mashed potatoes, but sopping up the broth with a chunk of bread is always a great option.

Cook's Notes:

What wine to use for this dish?

It is more important to use a freshly opened bottle of wine than an expensive one - not that bottle that has been sitting under your cupboard opened for several months. My suggestion is to use a hearty wine that matches the richness of the meat - a shiraz or zinfandel. Or try a lighter pinot noir.

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Ingredients

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons canola oil

3 pounds beef chuck roast or cross- rib steak, trimmed & cubed 1 1/2 inches

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 cup red wine

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 bay leaf

2 cups beef broth or chicken stock

2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced

1/2 pound baby red potatoes, washed and halved

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, to garnish

Instruction

Preheat oven to 300F.

Combine flour, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Roll beef cubes in flour mixture and shake off excess. Place on a large plate until ready to brown.

In a large ovenproof Dutch oven, heat half the oil over high heat:sear beef in batches, until all cubes are completely browned, adding more oil if needed. Transfer beef bake to large plate.

Reduce heat to medium low. Add onion, garlic, and thyme:fry for 4 minutes, or until softened. Add wine, tomato paste, and bay leaf; scrape up brown bits on bottom of Dutch oven.

Return beef and any accumulated juices to Dutch oven; add stock, cover, and transfer to preheated oven.

Remove from oven:add carrots and potatoes. Return to oven and simmer until vegetables are tender , 40 to 45 minutes.

Before serving, discard bay leaf and stir in parsley. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Serves 8

 
Marisa Curatolostew, beef