Monday, March 12, 2012
Old-Fashioned Beef Stew
I can't quite believe that this is the first real beef stew recipe I'm posting here. Beef stew is one of my all-time favorite childhood dishes, it's what I turn to when I'm in need of some serious comfort, it's the first thing I think of when I think of Julia Child (boeuf bourguignon, anyone?). Beef stew is just my thing. I make it as frequently as a food blogger's rotation will allow, and it always, always pops into my head when I'm thinking about what to make for dinner. Maybe I haven't written about it because it's so darn hard to photograph. The falling apart pieces of chuck roast, the creamy potatoes, sweet carrots, and luscious stock--it's all so delicious. And so....brown. A.K.A. incredibly difficult to take a good picture of. Brown foods are not a food photographer's friend. Just fyi. However, give a girl the right circumstances--time of day, light, stew recipe--and she'll give you a halfway decent picture. That's what happened this morning.
Anticipating the official end of freezing winter days, I fixed up a pot of old-fashioned beef stew on Sunday, dreaming of all the reheated bowls of the stuff I could enjoy over the week (everyone knows that stew gets better with a couple of days in the fridge, right?). As soon as I lifted the heavy, cast-iron pot out of the oven, apartment filling with good smells, I whipped out my trusty little camera and snapped. And snapped. And snapped. No dice. There was something about the light at 2:30 PM yesterday that made for shiny-looking stew. And shiny-looking stew does not look appetizing. Trust me. And so I decided to call it a night. I fixed my boyfriend and I heaping plates full of stew, poured some glasses of red wine, and we settled in with our rented movie of the night, Hugo (which, incidentally, was awesome). This morning, however, it was a whole different ballgame. The 8 AM morning light was perfect for making stew look just as good as it does in real life (hence, the photo you see above). And all was well in the world. I did, however, end up eating stew for breakfast. The perils of food blogging. xo
Old-Fashioned Beef Stew
Serves about 6
1 (3-lb) boneless beef chuck-eye roast, cut into 2-inch pieces
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 onions, chopped coarsely
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup full-bodied red wine
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 pound small red potatoes, peeled and halved
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Heat oven to 300 degrees. Season beef with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper; toss to coat. Heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat in Dutch oven or cast-iron pot. Brown meat on all sides in 2 batches, about 5 minutes per batch, adding remaining 1 tablespoon oil if necessary. Remove meat and set aside. Add onions to now-empty pot and cook until almost softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in flour; cook until lightly colored, 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine, scraping up browned bits of bottom of pot. Add broth, bay leaves, and thyme and bring to simmer. Add meat and return to simmer. Cover and place in oven and simmer 1 hour.
Remove pot from oven, add potatoes and carrots, cover, and return to oven. Simmer until meat is just tender, about 1 hour. Remove stew from oven. (At this point, stew can be cooled to room temperature , then refrigerated for up to 3 days. Bring to simmer, then remove from heat before proceeding).
Stir in parsley, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve. (Stew can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)