Sunday Supper: Beef Stew
One ‘American’ dish my mother made for us growing up was beef stew. I’m not even sure when she picked up the recipe for it or why it became a winter dish in our home, but I remember coming home from school and finding a large pot of it on the stove.
Although beef stew isn’t a dish they serve in Italy as we know it, Italians do love to stew meats and serve them with vegetables and broth. Many pork dishes in Southern Italy include hours of slow cooking with potatoes, onions, aromatics and sauce.
Once the cold weather rolls in, I always make beef stew served on top of some buttery noodles or even on its own. It's the ultimate stick to your ribs, warm you up kind of food and, best of all, it’s a ‘one pot wonder.’ So, grab your dutch oven and go stew!
6 ounces pancetta, diced fine
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 lbs beef chuck (stew meat) cut into 2 inch pieces
2 carrots, cut into ¼ inch dice
2 celery stalks, cut into ¼ inch dice
1 medium onion, cut into ¼ inch dice
1 large Yukon gold potato, cut into 2 inch pieces
3 tablespoons AP flour
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 cups red wine
3 cups beef stock
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs of thyme
2 tablespoons butter
kosher salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Heat dutch oven to medium until olive oil begins to shimmer. Add 5 to 6 pieces of beef to the pot but be sure they are not touching. You want them to brown, not steam. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and allow to cook until dark brown on all sides. Remove from the pot and add 5more pieces. Repeat until all meat is cooked.
Add pancetta and another tablespoon of olive oil to the pot and mix until pancetta begins to crisp. Once crisp, add carrots, celery, onion and potatoes. Cook for 5 minutes for all the vegetables to soften.
Place the meat back in the pot and sprinkle with flour. Rapidly mix so that flour begins to brown and adhere to the meat and vegetables. Add the tomato paste and mix again to incorporate. Add herbs.
Add red wine and stock and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, cover and place in the heated oven.
Cook for 2 hours. Stew is done once meat cuts open with the side of a fork with no resistance.
Remove meat and veg from the pot and boil the cooking liquid down by half. Add a knob of butter and swirl to get a rich sauce. Add meat and veg back in and serve it straight from the dutch oven.