January 5, 2011


This blog is dedicated to my mom, Bubbe! We enjoyed delicious beef stew Christmas Eve.  Yesterday, my mom called me to ask if I was making beef stew again.  !  Huge compliment but, sadly, I don't have plans to make it for awhile.  These days the veggie dishes are getting repeated far more often than the meat dishes.  

As a kid my mom didn't cook at all much.  My dad would always sing to "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" - 

Ten pots and pans on the wall
Ten pots and pans
If Mommy should happen to cook on one of those pans
Nine pots and pans on the wall...

When they got down to one my dad decided to try his hand at cooking.  However, she did make a great beef stew!  I remember cutting a million vegetables and layering them in order so the veggies that took longest to cook were on the bottom of the pot. Maybe she can share her recipe in the comments if she has it (hint hint). Maybe she'll make this one...

Fast forward to when I met C and his family.  They put beef stew on top of mashed potatoes.  Lemme tell you - HEAVEN!

Stew-pendous Beef Stew with Mashed Potatoes

3 lb boneless beef chuck roas, trimmed and cubed
Salt and Pepper
Canola Oil
2 med onions diced
3-4 celery stalks diced
5-6 mushrooms diced
1 tbsp tomato paste
4 cloves garlic
3 tbsp flour
1 cup red wine
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1.5 tsp dried thyme (can use fresh but I'm too cheap)
2 bay leaves
4 carrots peeled and sliced
1 cup frozen peas
5 yukon gold potatoes
2 tbsp unsalted butter

I like to prep all veggies save onion first. then beef, brown beef, then dice onion right before cooking.

Put oven rack to lower middle position so your dutch oven soup pot fits in the oven.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Pat dry the beef with paper towels, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Put dutch oven on stove on medium-high heat add oil until just smoking.  Add 1/3 to 1/2 of beef to brown on all sides.  I use a splatter guard cuz it can really sizzle! When batch one is browned remove to a large bowl, add more oil to pot and repeat with batch two (and batch three, if needed).  This hands down has to be my least favorite part of the process.

I feel like if you've made it this far you are home free!  All the beef is in a bowl resting.  Return the dutch oven to the stove, add more oil and saute the onions and celery with a pinch of salt for 3-5 minutes. Next add the mushrooms and cook about 2 minutes.  

Add the tomato paste and garlic and stir for about 30 seconds then add the flour and stir for 1 minute.  Slowly add the wine, scraping up any yumminess in the sides and bottom of pot.  Add broth, thyme, bay leaves, and browned beef with the juices.  

Bring to simmer, cover, and move pot to oven. Cook for 1 hour.  Add carrots.  Cover and continue to bake another hour until beef is tender.  After two hours I kept checking every half hour to see if I could cut the beef with a spoon.  That's how you know it is done.  For me, I ended up baking 3 hours this round. WHOA!

Remove from oven when it is ready.  At this point you can either add frozen peas and cover for 5 minutes or allow to cool and refrigerate for a day or two.  When ready to eat warm on stove or oven and add peas right before eating.  Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.  (Really stew is always better the next day)

I boil the potatoes until they can be mashed somewhat easily with a fork. Drain water, return to pot and add butter and mash.  Since you are adding stew on top I like to keep the mashed potatoes lumpy and dry so they can better soak up the stew. mmmmm.  This is wonderful with crusty bread and butter!  (or those cheapo brown and serve rolls)

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