After a very long day of shopping and running errands, my husband, my daughter, and I decided to have a nice quiet movie night at home. What to eat on that cold and tiring day? Well, most affordable restaurants don’t make good soups or stews, with Pho being the exception for me. Pho, in my opinion, is a very delicious Vietnamese noodle soup that I eat at least once a week. For argument’s sake, however, let’s say those restaurants did in fact make delicious concoctions. Those yummy soups and stews don’t taste as good, when you take them to go. So, I must make something at home, something delicious and hearty, a beef stew perhaps. Definitely, something my Scottish-American husband will appreciate.
MY FAVORITE BEEF STEW
1 lb boneless grass fed Beef chuck
3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 yellow Onions
3 Yukon gold Potatoes
12 cremini or button Mushrooms
1 cup green Peas – frozen or fresh
5 Garlic cloves
5 Thyme sprigs
2 Bay leaves
1/4 cup chopped Italian Parsley
2 tablespoons Tomato paste
1 cup Red Wine (I use a good Bordeaux)
5 cups reduced Beef stock – instructions in text below
1/2 cup finely chopped Italian Parsley – at the end of cooking process
2 Tablespoons Salt or to taste
1 Tablespoon freshly ground Pepper or to taste
Make sure your beef is completely dry by using paper towels to soak up any moisture before searing. Then sprinkle a generous amount of salt and freshly ground pepper. Place a dutch oven or a deep pot of your choosing on medium high heat. Once it is hot, add the olive oil and begin searing the seasoned beef. DO NOT CROWD the pan; you might have to sear in batches. If you crowd the pan, you will have steamed and not beautifully caramelized beef. Do not worry about all the brown bits at the bottom of the pan; they are there purely for flavor. They make everything taste better. While you are searing the meat, or before you start this whole process, peel and chop the onions, carrots, celery, parsnips, potatoes, mushrooms, garlic, and finely chop the parsley.
After all the meat is seared, place it on a plate and to the side. Now, add the chopped onions, carrots, celery, parsnips, potatoes, and mushrooms. Stir them all while scraping the bottom of the pan to get all the brown bits. Then add about 1 tablespoon of salt, 1/2 tablespoon of freshly ground pepper, and the tomato paste. Stir the paste to get it integrated in the vegetable mixture. After a couple of minutes, add the seared meat, 1/4 cup of the chopped Italian parsley, thyme sprigs, and bay leaves.
Add the wine to deglaze the bottom of the dutch oven; then, add the reduced beef stock, cover, and leave to cook on the stove on low heat for about 2 hours. Thirty minutes before the stew is done, add the green peas. After 2 hours, take the lid off, taste and season more, if necessary. Add the final 1/2 cup of finely chopped Italian parsley, stir to mix, then serve with a crusty baguette – for best results – and ENJOY!
Making reduced stock is very easy, but time consuming.
Reduced Beef Stock
1 to 2 lbs Beef bones
2 Celery stalks
2 Roma Tomatoes
4 Garlic cloves
1 cup Parsley sprigs
4 Thyme sprigs
2 Bay leaves
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon whole Peppercorns
6 quarts Water
Place everything together in a large stock pot, add the water, and put on the stove on medium high heat till it reaches a boil. Bring the heat down to reach a very soft boil, and leave it for about 2 hours. After you get a rich broth, strain the contents of the pot in a fine mesh strainer. Place the beautiful brown broth back on the stove and let reduce by half. Now, you have reduced and concentrated beef broth.