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Rich, meaty stew will make you glad it’s still winter

Is it spring yet? Sadly, not yet. However, this rich and meaty stew will make you grateful the weather is still wintry outside. Brimming with hunks of meltingly tender beef and chunky vegetables nestling in a potent, savory broth, this slow-cooked bowl of warmth will cheer you up on a cold late winter night.

As with most stews and braises, there are a few key steps to ensuring deep flavor: Take the time to brown the meat well. This step caramelizes the meat, which builds flavor in the braising liquid and lends depth to the stew. When choosing the wine, which is the main component of the stock, it needn’t be pricey, but it should be a wine you would be happy to drink.

And remember that this is about slow cooking. It’s not a process to be rushed. In fact, if you can begin making the stew a day ahead of serving, you will be rewarded, as it will improve in flavor with a good night’s rest in the refrigerator. This step also allows the fat to rise and solidify on the top of the stew, so the next day you can simply scoop it off, ensuring a clear, rich broth.

Note that this recipe includes straining the braising sauce with the aromatics, then proceeding with freshly cooked vegetables stirred into the sauce before serving. While it’s an extra step, it will result in bright and luxurious stew.

Beef and Vegetable Stew With Red Wine

Active time: 1 hour

Total time: 3 1/2 to 4 hours (plus overnight chilling)

Yield: Serves 5 to 6

Ingredients:

Stew:

Extra-virgin olive oil

2 1/2 to 3 pounds beef chuck, excess fat trimmed, meat cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch chunks

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup Calvados brandy

1 large carrot, chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

1 (750-ml) bottle full-bodied red wine

1 cup chicken stock

4 thyme sprigs

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Vegetables:

Olive oil

6 shallots, peeled, halved

8 ounces cremini mushrooms, ends trimmed, halved (or quartered if large)

Kosher salt

1 large carrot, sliced 1/2-inch thick

Directions:

Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large Dutch oven or ovenproof pot with a lid over medium-high heat. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add the beef to the pan without overcrowding and brown on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat until all the beef is browned.

Add the Calvados to the pot and deglaze, stirring up any brown bits. Reduce by half, and then pour the Calvados over the reserved beef.

Add 1 tablespoon oil, the carrots, onion and garlic to the pot and saute over medium heat until the vegetables soften without browning, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir for about 30 seconds to take the raw edge off. Return the beef with any collected juices to the pot. Add the wine, stock, thyme and bay leaves. The beef should be submerged in the stock. Add more stock or wine if needed.

Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat. Cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Cook until the meat is very tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours, stirring every hour or so.

(If making ahead, the stew can be cooled and then refrigerated overnight at this point. When ready to proceed, remove from the refrigerator and scrape any collected fat from the surface. Gently reheat over medium-low heat to loosen the sauce.)

Place a sieve over a large saucepan. Carefully pour the stew into the sieve and strain the liquid into the saucepan. Separate the chunks of meat from the vegetables and set the meat aside. Press down on the cooked vegetables remaining in the sieve to extract as much juice into the drained liquid as possible. Discard the mashed vegetables.

Cook the fresh vegetables: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and mushrooms. Lightly season with salt and saute until the vegetables begin to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the same skillet, then add the carrots. Lightly season with salt and saute until bright in color and crisp-tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the mushrooms.

Place the strained liquid in a clean pot. Bring to a boil and simmer until the sauce is reduced by about one-third and slightly thickened, about 20 minutes, skimming any fat from the surface. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Return the beef to the sauce, then stir in the vegetables. Simmer over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes to warm through. Ladle the stew into warm bowls and serve.

Lynda Balslev is an award-winning writer, cookbook author, and recipe developer based in northern California. Visit TasteFood at TasteFoodblog.com.


Source: Berkshire mont

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