For me, beef stew is one of my comfort foods. It is an incredible source of nutrition, and when done right, makes for a delicious meal. As a great source of protein, it only gets better with age. When a roast is made, whether it be beef, lamb, pork, chicken, etc., that’s as good as it’s going to get. You have one chance to taste that meal at it’s best. The best part about stews and braises is that in the following days, they are just as good, if not a little bit better than the first meal.
There are three ingredients that I feel are essential to a good beef stew. They are; Red wine, Dijon mustard, tomato product, and fresh herbs such as sage, rosemary, thyme and bay leaf. These ingredients alone, help to really build some depth of flavor and make the taste interesting to the palate.
4 pounds of stew meat (beef)
1 Bunch Celery rough chop
6 Carrots peeled, rough chop
4 Medium sized White onions peeled, rough chop
8 Cloves of garlic peeled, minced
4 pints Crimini Mushrooms cleaned, quartered
1 28oz. can Organic Tomatoes
1 bottle of decent Dry red wine
2 TBSP Dijon Mustard
Rosemary, Thyme to taste
Salt, pepper to taste
3 TBSP Canola Oil (to sear beef)
Method of Prep
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, season and sear meat with canola oil and brown on all sides then remove and set aside. Be sure to do in batches to maintain the proper heat. Over crowding the sear with too much meat will lower the temp and cause the meat to just sweat and turn gray.
- Add vegetables except for tomatoes and garlic to the pot and season, stirring occasionally. As the vegetables start to soften they will release water that will help to de-glaze the bottom of the pot from the meat drippings. After roughly 5-10 minutes when the vegetables have softened, add the garlic, mustard, tomatoes and red wine. Stir and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes.
- Return the meat back to the pot, mix into the stewing liquid as evenly as possible with half of the fresh herbs.
- Cover pot with lid or a piece of foil. Turn heat down to a slow simmer and cook for at least three hours.
- Before serving, adjust seasoning and add the second half of the fresh herbs. Vigorously stir in beurre manie and cook for another 5 minutes while the stew thickens up a bit.
*Note- A beurre manie is a “dough” made from equal parts of butter and flour that is kneaded together by hand. The result should be “crumbly” with no visible butter or flour. In French cooking it is used to thicken soups and sauces, similar to a roux. It also provides a delicious, buttery finish. For the entire batch of stew, which by volume, was more than a gallon at the end, I used about three to four TBSP of butter and just over 1/4 Cup of flour. For something like this, I don’t necessarily measure out the beurre manie as it can be more of a personal preference.
The above recipe can really be used for any type of red meat that’s made into a braise or stew. Some herbs may go better with different meats and again, that is up to individual creativity and preference as well. This could be served with a starch of choice, based on preference. I used potato, which can be added to cook with the stew as part of the vegetables in the beginning.