Beef Stew

Prep Time: 20 min

Stovetop Time: 30 min

Oven time: 2 to 2 1/2 hours @ 325F

This is a savory beef stew that will stick to your ribs and warm you up from the inside out.  I usually make this when stewing beef is on sale, so I make a lot and freeze some for those nights when we need to get food on the table quickly.

Ingredients

  • Grape seed oil, as needed
  • 1 kg stewing beef cubes
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 tsp each Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • I yellow onion, chopped
  • 5 whole cloves garlic, crushed (but not minced)
  • 10 Cremini mushrooms, cut in chunks
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 5 stalks of celery, cut in 1” pieces
  • 6 carrots, cut in 1” pieces
  • 1 rutabaga, cut in large cubes
  • 1 lb mini potatoes, or 3 cups of potatoes cut in large cubes
  • Beef Broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh herbs:  sage, rosemary, thyme

Preparation

  1. Mix flour, salt and pepper, and paprika together.  Add beef cubes and mix together until beef is well coated.
  2. In a large Dutch oven, heat enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan over medium-high heat. Add the coated beef cubes, a little at a time, and brown them, turning to sear each side.  Be sure not to overcrowd the pan. (See image in Tips below.)  When seared, remove cubes to a separate bowl. Repeat this step with the rest of the beef, adding more oil as necessary. There will be little bits of browned flour and beef stuck to the bottom of the pan. This is a good thing because it adds flavour and will help thicken the stew.  Retain the seasoned flour from the bottom of the bowl to add later. 
  3. Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan again and add the onions, garlic and mushrooms, stirring regularly, until the onions are translucent and starting to brown.  Add red wine to the pan and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to release all the bits of flour and meat.
  4. Layer in potatoes, carrots, celery, and turnip,  then sprinkle in any of the flour mixture leftover from the beef cubes. Add more salt and pepper to taste.  Stir well. Add the browned beef cubes to the top of the pot and add a large sprig of sage, a couple of rosemary stalks, and a bunch of thyme sprigs. (Really, the amount of herbs you want to add is dependent on your personal taste.  Refer to the photograph below to see how much I use.)
  5. Add beef broth to the pan until it is half full.  The amount you need depends on the size of the pot you are using.  As the veggies cook down they will release their water into the pan, and the flour mixture will help thicken it to make a nice savory gravy. Bring the liquid to a boil on the stove top then cover your pot with a tight-fitting lid. Remove it from the heat and place it in a pre-heated, 325F oven for 2 to 2-½ hours, until the vegetables have reached your desired tenderness when tested with a sharp knife.
  6. PLEASE NOTE: if you’re planning on serving with Dumplings, check your vegetables after 1-½ hours, because the dumplings will take an additional 20 minutes to cook in the pot.

Tips

  • Do not overcrowd the pot when browning your meat.  Leave enough space between the pieces for heat to get between them.  Over crowding will result in the meat steaming and not really browning.

browning-beef.jpg

  • This recipe makes a lot of food, so feel free to halve the amount if you are not interested in having leftovers.
  • Dried herbs will work just as well here.  Keep in mind you need smaller quantities when using dried herbs.  Start with 1 tsp of each, and increase the amount until you reach a flavour you’re happy with.

stew-herbs.jpg

  • Adding the dumplings will absorb some of the liquid and also make the gravy a little thicker, so don’t worry if it seems a little thin at this point.  If you’re not making dumplings, you can reduce the gravy on the stovetop until it is a richer consistency, or add a cornstarch slurry (equal parts cornstarch and cold water). Add slurry a little at a time because it binds up pretty quickly and you don’t want your gravy to be solid!
  • You can make this in a slow cooker if you want, but follow steps 1-3 on the stove top for the best flavour.  In a slow cooker, cook for 4 hours if following steps 1-3 on the stove,  or 6 hours on low if using the dump-and-go method. To make dumplings, turn cooker up to high and get it bubbling before adding the dumpling mix.

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