A few years ago we were dining at a friend's house. Sharon "threw together" a stew for us. It was unbelievable and I won't soon forget it. A few months ago, I went to Sharon's daughter's house for dinner. Again, Whitney made her version of a beef stew. I looked wide eyed and said "is this your family's stew?" She shrugged it off, just like her mother, and said it wasn't really much of a recipe. These are my favorite types of recipes. Meat. Veggies. Wine. Cook a while while you put your feet up. Invite friends over. Done.
She wrote out her version on a 3x5 card. Whitney didn't know this, but I love when friends do this for me. I will forever see a recipe in their hand writing. :)
I used rainbow carrots (including one carrot from our garden!!) and a few more celery stalks than she used because mine were short. She later informed me to throw in a beef bullion cube if you have one, but I added garlic and didn't miss the bullion when I made this hardy stew. So yummy and so simple.
Red Wine Beef Stew
(easily serves 4 people, plus leftovers)
2 lbs beef stew meat
2 tbls olive oil
approx 1/2 cup flour
salt and pepper
7 carrots, rough chop
4 sticks celery, rough chop
1 large yellow onion, rough chop
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 bottle red wine
2 14 oz cans petite diced tomatoes
8 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
(1 beef bullion cube- optional)
More salt and pepper
First, begin by dredging your stew meat in the flour. Season your flour with generous salt and pepper. Then using tongs, toss the meat in the flour, shake off excess and then put on a plate ready for browning.
My son is an expert with tongs and was very excited to learn this new skill. It was his first time with raw meat. He was a natural... and very proud of himself. There are few things that bring me more joy than spending time in the kitchen with him.
In a large pot, heat your olive oil. Brown the meat in batches, being careful not to crowd the meat. Brown all sides. This takes time, so don't rush the process. You want brown bits, not just grey heated meat. While your meat is browning, chop your veggies and enjoy a glass of that wine you just opened for the stew.
When the meat is done, add a little more olive oil if needed and throw in your veggies. After about 5 minutes they begin to soften, then add your garlic and cook another minute until aromatic.
Then add your beef back in with your tomatoes, wine, (bullion cube if desired), thyme, bay leaves and more salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Cook covered for 3-4 hours.
I served my stew over polenta and topped with fresh parsley. You could serve it over mashed potatoes or just by itself with crusty bread. This is January's best offering right here!
Thank you Reed/Nickel women for your friendship and your cooking! You are good for my soul and my cooking inspiration.