Beef Stew

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Adapted from "Best Beef Stew" recipe at Cook's Illustrate.

Ingredients

  • 8 small garlic cloves, pressed through garlic press (about 1 T)
  • 2 large anchovy fillets, minced (about 2 T)
  • 1 T 365 concentrated tomato paste
  • (optional) 1 tsp Umami paste
  • 5 lbs boneless rib eye roast, trimmed, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, halved and cut from pole to pole into 1/8 inch thick slices
  • 8 medium carrots, washed, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 3/4 bottle red wine (used a cheap organic blended red wine from Berkeley Bowl)
  • 2 cups chicken broth (better than bullion, used according to recipe on jar)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs of dried thyme
  • 6 ounces salt pork
  • 1 1/2 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed, eyed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • medium bag frozen peas and pearl onions
  • water as needed
  • kosher salt
  • ground black pepper
  • brown sugar as needed (about 1 tsp - 1 T)

Method

  1. Prep ingredients:
    1. Combine and grind in mortar and pestle: garlic, anchovies, tomato paste (and optional umami paste). Set aside.
    2. Cut up roast to 1 1/2 inch pieces. Set aside.
    3. Cut up onion. Set aside.
    4. Wash carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces. Set aside.
    5. Measure out flour. Set aside.
    6. Open bottle of wine. Set aside.
    7. Cut salt pork into small pieces (1/8" x 1/4" x 1/2 - 1"). Set aside.
    8. Scrub potatoes, cut and set aside (can do so under water if afraid of oxidation).
    9. Thaw bag of frozen peas and pearl onions.
  2. Assure meat is dry (can pat dry with paper towels if necessary). Heat 1 T oil in large, heavy bottomed pan (used braising pan - large and shallow), with a wok lid that fit, but can also use a dutch oven or other large deep pan with a lid. When oil is about to smoke, add beef to lightly cover bottom of pan, cover for a couple of minutes, brown, and move beef around until all sides are seared. Moderate lid to try to keep juices in but not steam the meat. A little steaming is ok. Add oil as needed and cook meat in batches, setting aside completed meat in a separate large pot if you are braising in a shallow pan, or in a bowl if you intend to most of your cooking in the pan you're searing the meat in.
  3. After all meat is seared and in a large, deep pan, use a cup or so of wine to deglaze the braising pan (if used). Pour wine and deglazed yumminess into pot with beef.
  4. On medium heat, stir from bottom. Add onion, paste in mortar and pestle and cook. Continue stirring from bottom to keep ingredients moving around.
  5. Add broth, salt pork and flour. Stir and allow to thicken slightly.
  6. Add remaining wine. Stir and cook.
  7. Add salt to taste. Stir and cook.
  8. Add potatoes and carrots, thyme, bay leaves. Cook for about 45 minutes.
  9. Skim excess fat from surface of stew. Taste, season with salt to taste. If too sour or tastes not mingled enough, add brown sugar, to taste (start small).
  10. Taste broth and test meat. When there's only a few minutes' cooking left, add peas and onions, stir, taste one last time and tweak with salt and pepper, and serve.

Notes

  • Unlike original recipe, no oven.
  • Makes about 8-12 servings, depending on appetite.