Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Best Beef Stew

This is the best beef stew I have ever tasted!  It takes a little time but it is well worth it!

I found this recipe from America's Test Kitchen and its definitely a keeper that I'll be making again!
-2 garlic cloves (about 2 tsp), minced
-4 anchovy fillets (about 2 tsp), finely minced {I used anchovy paste in a tube}
-1 tbsp tomato paste
-about 4 lbs beef chuck-eye roast, trimmed of excess fat, cut in 1 1/2 inch cubes
-2 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
-1 large onion, coarsely diced {I used two smaller onions}
-4 medium carrots, peeled, cut into 1 inch pieces {I used 5, because mine were smaller}
-1/4 cup flour
-2 cups red wine {cotes du rhone or pinot noir}
-2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
-2 bay leaves
-2 springs fresh thyme or 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
-4 ounces salt pork, rinsed of excess salt
-1 lb Yukon gold potatoes (about 3), scrubbed and cubed in 1 inch pieces
-1 1/2 cups frozen pearl onions
-1 pkt (2 tsp) unflavored powdered gelatin
-1/2 cup water
-1 cup frozen peas
-salt and pepper to taste
Anchovy Paste and Tomato Paste
Salt Pork
1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Combine garlic and anchovies in a small bowl.
3. Add tomato paste to garlic and anchovies.
4. Stir well and set aside.
5. Pat cubed meat dry with paper towels (do not season).
6. Heat 1 tbsp oil in Dutch oven or large heavy bottomed pot over high heat.
7. Add half {I did mine in thirds, so I didn't over crowd the meat and prevent browning} of the beef and cook until well browned on all sides, about 8 minutes total {reduced heat to medium-high if needed}.
8. Transfer beef to a large plate or bowl.
9. Repeat with remaining, adding oil when needed.
10. Leave the last batch of meat in the pan after browning.
11. Reduce heat to medium and return all meat to the pan.
12. Add onions and carrots to meat.
13. Stir to combine.
14. Stir and cook, scraping bottom of the pan to loosen bits, until onion is softened, about 1 to 2 minutes.
15. Add garlic mixture to pot.
16. Stir constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
17. Add flour and cook stirring constantly, until no dry flour remains, about 30 seconds.
18. Slowly add wine, scrapping bottom of pan to loosen any browned bits.
19. Increase heat to high and allow wine to simmer until thickened and slightly reduced, about 2 minutes.
20. Stir in broth.
21. Add bay leaves, thyme and salt pork to pot.
22. Stir well and bring to a simmer, cover and transfer to oven, cook for 1 1/2 hours.
23. Remove pot from oven; remove and discard bay leaves and salt pork {and thyme stems if using fresh thyme}.
24. Stir in potatoes, cover and return to oven, and cook until potatoes are almost tender, about 45 minutes.
25. Using a large spoon, skim off any excess fat from the surface.
26. Stir in pearl onions; cook over medium heat util potatoes and onions are cooked through and meat offer little resistance when poked with a fork (meat should not be falling apart), about 15 minutes.
27. Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatin over water in a small bowl and allow to soften for 5 minutes.
28. Increase heat to high, stir in softened gelatin mixture and peas {I totally forgot the peas and was thinking it would be great if the stew had something green in it!  Oh well, next time!}; simmer until gelatin is fully dissolved and stew is thickened, about 3 minutes.
29. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
30. Enjoy!
* I served this with my fresh Crusty French Bread, so delicious!

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