Red Wine Braised Beef Stew
Cold weather makes me long for warm, comforting meals and this red wine braised beef stew is at the top of my list. The tender chunks of meat are swimming in a bowl of velvety rich sauce, perfect to sop up with a piece of crunchy french bread. The potatoes and carrots are added midway through the cooking process so they retain a bit of texture which adds a nice balance to the dish. Serve on its own with plenty of french bread, ladle it over a bowl of wide egg noodles or creamy polenta and it will warm you to the core!Notes: Don't be tempted to buy prepackaged stew meat. Chuck is really the only cut of meat to use if you want a fork tender stew. The prepackaged stew meat is usually the leftovers from a variety of cuts that the butcher has no use for. I ask my butcher to cube the roast for me and then I trim any huge chunks of fat before I brown the meat. I find that the flour I used for dredging is enough to thicken the stew, but if I plan to serve it over egg noodles and I want the sauce to be thicker, sometimes I add a roux to the pot at the end of the process. In order to do this, melt 4 tablespoon of butter in a small nonstick pan and add 4 tablespoons of flour. Stir until the mixture is well combined and cook over low heat for about two minutes. Add mixture to the stew and stir.
- 1/4 cup flour for dredging
- 4 lbs chuck roast Cut into 1" cubes
- olive oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pot
- 2 onions chopped into 1" chunks
- 5 cloves garlic whole, crushed
- 3 celery ribs chopped into 1" chunks
- 4 tbspns tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cups red wine
- 4 cups beef stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbspn ground rosemary
- 2 tspns salt
- 1 tspn freshly grated black pepper
- 5 medium sized carrots sliced on a diagonal, into 1" chunks
- 1 lb baby potatoes (i.e. yukon gold) sliced in half
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Season meat with salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle the meat with flour and toss to coat. This will help the meat brown and the flour will serve as a thickening agent in the stew.
- Add olive oil to the bottom of a dutch oven or heavy bottomed soup pot. Over medium heat, brown the meat in two batches, a couple of minutes on each side. Add a bit more olive oil for the second batch if needed. Note: Don't rush this step. The browning adds a depth of flavor that you cannot replicate. Be careful not to over crowd the pan or the meat will steam rather than brown.
- Once the meat is browned, remove it from the pot and set aside.
- Add the onions, garlic and celery to the same pot, and use a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Saute until soft, about five to seven minutes.
- Add the meat and juices back to the pot.
- Mix in the tomato paste and cook for a couple of minutes, until the tomato paste turns dark red and becomes slightly sticky.
- Add the red wine to deglaze the pan.
- Add the beef stock.
- Add the bay leaves.
- Add the ground rosemary and salt.
- Bring to a boil, cover with a lid and then transfer to the oven to braise for two hours.
- Once the stew has cooked for two hours, add the carrots and potatoes.
- Return to the oven and braise for another two hours.
- Adjust seasoning to your liking and enjoy!
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