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What's For Dinner - A Variation on Classic Beef Stew

Posted by Truffle Shuffle

A Variation on Classic Beef Stew

I recently realized that, though I love beef stew, I had never actually made the dish before. So I set out to make a classic beef stew, with a couple of personalized twists. This recipe came out great. It was super flavorful, and the meat was literally falling apart to the touch! Delicious for a cold, rainy evening meal.

3 cups of beef broth or stock
2 large carrots
1 parsnip
3 stalks of celery
2 pounds of beef (top round or another large, inexpensive cut)
3 bay leaves
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium white onion
5 smaller or 4 medium red potatoes (another kind will do just as well)
1/2 cup of flour (plus extra in case)
1/2 cup of red wine (any type)
A few sprigs of rosemary, thyme and flat-leaf parsley
Seasoned salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste

Chop your vegetables into nice size chunks. If you like smaller pieces in your stew, you can cut to fit your desired size, but I used large pieces in mine. Just make sure they aren't too large to be bite-sized! Don't be afraid to cut the onion into larger pieces as well, as it will end up entirely soft and translucent after the cooking process.

Set a pot or stock pot to medium-high heat, and place your beef in it. Brown each size until you achieve a nice caramel color. Burnt ends won't hurt at all, so don't be too worried about overcooking. However, the goal here is not to cook the meat through, but just to brown the outside.
Take the meat out and cut it into large chunks, about an inch and a half or so. If you like smaller-sized pieces, feel free to cut them however you like.

Pour the flour into the pot, and deglaze with the red wine. Make sure to scrape up any of the delicious meaty goodness that may have stuck to the bottom of the pot. Stir the mixture, making sure the flour dissolves completely.

Place your meat and vegetables, along with the bay leaves and other herbs, into a large pot or slow cooker. I used a slow cooker for my stew.
Pour in about two cups of the broth, and set the rest aside to add if needed. Add the wine deglaze mixture.

Cover and cook on low for about nine hours, or until the stew has thickened nicely and the meat is falling apart.
Check the stew for consistency every hour or two. During the latter half of the cooking process, you may add broth as needed if there is not enough liquid to cook the vegetables. On the other hand, if the stew has not thickened to your liking by the last hour or so of the cooking process, add some extra flour to help the thickening process.
When the stew resembles a proper stew, you may add some salt and pepper to taste. I used seasoned salt. Don't add salt too early, as cooking over time can bring out the salty flavor in the stew, and it's easy to add too much. Remember, you can always finish with salt after, but you can't take it out!

Note: if you don't care for parsnip, you can use two or three more carrots in place of the parsnip.

Remember to fish out the bay leaves, and serve with warm bread. Enjoy!

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Posted by Truffle Shuffle
Photo credits: Magic of Spice

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