In general, I don’t use a lot of beef in my day-to-day cooking. We tend to lean more towards ground turkey, or chicken breasts, or tofu. But there are some times when you just have a craving for a rich satisfying bowl of beef stew, and this is the recipe to use for those occasions! I made this for a family party, and it went over really well. Most of the men at the party came back for seconds, and my dad said it was “really good stew”. Which if you knew him, would tell you a lot. 🙂
There is some prep work involved, but it really pays off when it is done, and you will be glad you put the work into it.
(You can use a crock pot (a big one!) or a dutch oven – mine held 6 quarts. I just did mine in the dutch oven because it was bigger!)
3 1/2 – 4 lbs Beef chuck steak (you can buy stew meat but this is cheaper and you can cube it yourself), 1 inch cubes, fat trimmed
Olive oil/veg oil for browning
salt, pepper, and whatever spices you like for seasoning the meat (I used paprika, garlic powder and All Season)
2 c Red wine
14 oz Beef broth (organic if you can)
2 c water
1 pkg Onion soup mix
6 Tb Flour
4 Tb Tomato paste
2 Tb Oregano (dried)
2 Tb Thyme (dried)
2 Tb Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tb Balsamic vinegar
2 packages Button mushrooms, sliced
4 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 1/2 c frozen peas, thawed
2 c frozen pearl onions, thawed
Cube meat, and season very well. Pat dry with paper towels. Sear the meat in a hot pan with oil, leaving room between the pieces. It will take about 5 batches, depending on the size of your pan (I browned mine on the stovetop in the dutch oven). When all the meat is well-browned, remove and use the wine to deglaze the pan. Scrape up all the brown bits, and let boil for a minute or two. Put the meat back into the Dutch oven with the wine, and add the beef broth. Take the water, flour, and tomato paste and whisk together very well until there are no chunks of flour left, then add to the pot. Add the next 5 ingredients, and cook on high for 1 hour (or in a 350 degree oven). It may seem like this mix is a little salty, but once all the other ing are added, it will even out.
After the hour, turn the heat to low (or 230 degrees) and add the potatoes and carrots, and continue cooking for another 7 hours. It is important to go the full 8 hours to get the meat to break down and the sauce to thicken. It will look very watery until then, so don’t freak out! At the 7 hour mark, open the lid and WITHOUT STIRRING remove the fat on the top of the sauce. You can use a big spoon to get most of it, and then lay paper towels gently on top to soak up the rest. The paper towel trick is fantastic, and I have used it many times to get the fine layer of fat off of sauces and soups without using a spoon for an insane amount of time.
When it’s done, you can decide if you want the stew gravy to be thicker. Just add a little more flour and water (whisked together) and it will thicken more. In a saute pan, brown the pearl onions in some butter to give them great flavor and color, then add to the stew. Finally, the thawed peas and chopped parsley are added last to retain their color and to keep the peas from mushing out.