Decadent Beef Stew
I took Ina’s Beef Bourguignon recipe and her Company Pot Roast recipe and combined them to make this beef stew. I wanted to make Company Post Roast, but you see, we recently bought half a cow and split it with our neighbors. And my downstairs freezer is full of stew beef, ground beef, and steaks. But somehow I didn’t come away with any roasting meat. So rather than go out and purchase a cut of meat that I didn’t have on hand, I decided to make the pot roast recipe with stew beef. So here’s what I did.
I gathered my ingredients.
What you see there is flour for coating the meat, salt and pepper, lard (yes ma’am, I did say lard), chicken stock, beef cubes, onion, garlic, leeks, carrots, and celery. Mmm. Mm. What I forgot to include in the photo was a can of plum tomatoes and fresh thyme.
I cut up my veggies and set them aside.
Next I took each piece of stew meat and dried it and sprinkled it with salt and pepper. It’s a laborious task, but it really does make the meat brown up nicely. Ever since I saw them do it on Julie & Julia, I’ve been making sure to take this extra step when I brown beef.
Then I floured it up real good.
Then it was time to brown the meat. Now folks, this here is lard.
I am not afraid of lard. My great-grandmother’s recipes all call for lard, and she lived well into her 90s. They say her heart wouldn’t stop beating. Now Crisco, that’s what you need to be afraid of. That stuff’ll kill ya.
I melted the lard in a large stock pot and started browning the beef. I like to work in batches so each piece gets browned on all sides. If you try to fill the pan too full, it won’t brown properly. And this photo doesn’t really represent properly browned meat. I think I turned those first pieces too soon, and then I never got another shot. Oh well, you get the idea.
Once the meat was browned and removed from the pan, I added some olive oil and the veggies. And salt and pepper, of course. You want to season each step of the way to get the most flavor from your food.
I sauteed those up till they were nice and tender. Then I added some red wine — something else I forgot to grab when I was assembling my ingredients. The wine helps deglaze the pan and get all those yummy browned bits of meat and veggies off the bottom and into your stew.
Next I added homemade chicken stock, a can of plum tomatoes, and more salt and pepper.
I grabbed some fresh thyme off my deck. Unfortunately I didn’t have any fresh rosemary, so I used dried. I didn’t bother to tie them in a bundle. I just pulled the stems out when I served the stew.
Once that was combined, I added the stew meat back into the pot, along with any drippings and juices remaining on the plate.
Stir it up, bring it to a boil, then cover it and put it into a 250-degree oven for an hour and 15 minutes or so.
And then? Dinner!
It was delicious, but the next time I make this dish, I think I’ll add some diced potatoes for depth. I also skipped the step where she adds the butter/flour mixture to thicken it. I thought it was plenty thick already, with the flour from browning the beef mixed with the lard.
The nice thing about this dish is that it makes great leftovers for school lunch boxes or a quick dinner.
- 2½ pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- gluten-free all purpose flour
- olive oil
- 2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
- 2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
- 2 cups chopped celery (4 stalks)
- 2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 to 4 leeks)
- 2 cups diced potatoes (2 potatoes)
- 5 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 1 cup good red wine, such as Burgundy
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes in puree
- 1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 3 branches fresh thyme
- 2 branches fresh rosemary
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
- Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
- them in gluten-free all purpose flour.
- In a large Dutch oven, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Work in batches in single layers for optimal browning.
- Remove the seared cubes to a plate and continue searing until all the beef is browned; set aside.
- Add olive oil to the Dutch oven.
- Add the carrots, onions, celery, leeks, potatoes, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1½ teaspoons pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned.
- Add the wine and bring to a boil.
- Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.
- Tie the thyme and rosemary together with kitchen string and add to the pot.
- Put the meat back into the pot with the juices; bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid, and place it in the oven for about 1¼ hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.
- Remove the herb bundle and discard.
- Spoon into bowls, and serve with fresh bread and butter.