Hearty Beef Stew
This recipe makes about 16 portions, making it perfect for anyone hosting family over the holidays. However, you don’t plan on consuming within a week, you can freeze the stew for up to six months. Of course, the sooner consumed the better.
· 3 tablespoons olive oil
· 1 ¼ pound lean beef
· 1.5 quart medium-diced large onion
· 1 cup red wine
· 1 quart medium-diced butternut squash (peeled)
· 1 quart medium-diced Red Potatoes (covered in water)
· 1 pint medium-diced Carrots
· 1 pint medium-diced celery
· 1 pint snow peas
· 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
· 6 pieces of chopped garlic
· 1 inch piece ginger (grated)
· 1 quart beef stock
· ½ teaspoon ground coriander
· ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
· 1.2 teaspoon dried thyme
· ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
· 2 dried bay leaves
· 1 teaspoon soy sauce
· 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
· ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
· 3 tablespoons kosher or sea salt
· ½ cup chopped parsley
· 2 tablespoons corn starch
· 2 tablespoons water
· 1 pint braising liquid
In the kitchen, timing is everything. This is an undeniable truth held by all professional chefs. Nothing makes this point clearer than a stew. I have included the following recipe as a way for those of you at home to practice the culinary skill of timing.
I want to start off by saying, compared to my other recipes, this one requires a bit more skill. However, I have full faith in you. There are two keys to unlocking the potential of this recipe. The first: cutting the vegetables to the same size. The second: strict adherence as to when the varying components are added. By following these two instructions, you are insuring that all of the vegetables are cooked perfectly.
Step 1: Mise en Place
This French, culinary phrase means, “everything in its place.” Essentially, for this recipe this means having all of the vegetables cut before you start cooking. The cut-size we are trying to achieve here is ½ in by ½ in—this size is referred to as a medium dice in professional kitchens.
Step 2: Beef
Place olive oil in large stock pot and place on high heat. When the oil starts to simmer, add the beef and let sit for 3-4 minutes until well browned. Stir and let sear for an additional 2 minutes on medium heat.
Remove from pot and set aside. Place pot back on heat.
Step 2: Flavor
Add a bit more olive oil and onions to pan and caramelize over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Deglaze pan with red wine and scrape bottom of pan to get all the brown bits off. Add beef, beef stock, garlic, ginger, soy, balsamic, salt, and all dry spices to pot. Bring to a simmer and reduce to medium-low heat. Cook for 1 hour.
Step 3: Veggies
Add potatoes and butternut squash to pot. Cook for 20 minutes.
Step 4: More Veggies
Add carrots and celery to pot. Cook for 20 minutes.
Step 5: Even More Veggies
Add tomatoes and snow peas to the pot.
Step Six: Thickening
Important: this step should be taken at the same time as Step 5.
Remove 1 pint of liquid and place in a small, sauce pan. Turn on high heat—keep a close eye on the small, sauce pan because it could overflow while boiling. Meanwhile, combine cornstarch and water in small bowl and stir to mix. Once the liquid in the small, sauce pan has come to a boil, whisk in the cornstarch slurry and cook over high heat for 1 minute.
Step Seven: Finishing Touches
Place thickened liquid in with rest of soup. Combine by stirring gently. Remove from heat, stir in parsley and let cool for 20 minutes. Season with a bit more salt to taste
Step 8: Serving
You may serve this stew right away, or, this is my suggestion, let it sit overnight so the flavors will meld and become more cohesive. Either way, this recipe can be served over rice, or with a grilled baguette.
Until next time,
Chef Josh Charles