I've been wanting to make a beef stew for months now. It just seems like the ultimate winter comfort food. Problem was I'd never made a beef stew before, and since the ingredients are so costly, I wanted to be sure to make a good one. I know I can always count on Ina Garten when it comes to recipes. She never lets me down.
Ina has two beef stew recipes. The first one is her Ultimate Beef Stew, and it differs from her other recipes in that it uses short ribs, Cognac, fennel, and pancetta. The Ultimate has great ratings, but not as many ratings as her Parker's Beef Stew. Her Parker's Beef Stew calls for chuck beef, which I knew I could source, and since more people rated this recipe I went with the Parker's.
This recipe is way more costly than most recipes I make, somewhat of a splurge. I bought USDA prime cuts of stew meat. Two and a half pounds was $21. Next I needed potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, rosemary, and some frozen peas. Another $15. Last, it was time to select a wine. Ina calls for all the beef to marinade in the wine overnight, plus 2-1/2 cups of the wine marinade is added to the stew, so the wine matters. The lady at the store helped me and we chose 19 Crimes Cabernet Sauvignon, $14.99. Altogether, my beef stew is nearing $50.
I place the beef in the marinade overnight and cross my fingers. It feels like a long time to let beef marinate.
I place all the beef in a Dutch oven and set about cooking down the carrots, onions, potatoes, and garlic. Next I get the leftover wine marinade and use it to deglaze the pan, reducing the wine down before adding the chicken stock, sun-dried tomatoes, Worcestershire, and rosemary. I pour the sauce over the beef and the vegetables. I've been in the kitchen awhile, slicing, dicing, measuring and my kitchen looks like the bomb went off. It's ok I think. It's going to be worth it.
The stew looks promising and I stick it in the oven at 300 for 2 hours. After an hour I go to give it a stir and it looks amazing. I know I haven chosen the right recipe. An hour later I go back to stir in the peas and I can't believe how absolutely amazing it looks. so thick and hearty. It looks exactly like the beef stew of my dreams!
I don't have to call anyone to dinner because as soon as I take the stew out of the oven and remove the lid everyone comes running. The stew is chunky with big tender bites of succulent beef, beautiful orange knobs of carrot, chunky potatoes, little pieces of sun-dried tomato, all swimming in a thick beefy gravy with pretty pops of peas floating throughout. It is the ultimate comfort food. So delicious!
If you're going to splurge on a recipe, this is so delicious and worth every penny! We absolutely loved it and I will definitely make it again. Thanks, Ina!
Parker's Beef Stew
Adapted from Food Network
by Ina Garten
2-1/2 pounds good quality chuck beef, cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes
1 (750-ml bottle) good red wine
3 whole garlic cloves, smashed
3 bay leaves
2 cups all-purpose flour
salt and black pepper
good olive oil
2 yellow onions, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut diagonally in 1-1/2 inch chunks
1/2 pound white mushrooms, steams discarded and cut in 1/2
1 pound small potatoes, halved or quartered
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
2 cups or 1 (14oz can) chicken stock or broth
1 large (or 2 small) branch fresh rosemary
1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas
Note: I used USDA prime grade beef stew meat. We don't love mushrooms, so I left them out. I used 19 Crimes Cabernet Sauvignon in the recipe. You can use whatever red wine you like or have on hand.
Place the beef in a bowl with red wine, garlic, and bay leaves. Place in the refrigerator and marinate overnight.
The next day, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Combine the flour, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 tablespoon pepper. Lift the beef out of the marinade with a slotted spoon and discard the bay leaves and garlic, saving the marinade. In batches, dredge the cubes of beef in the flour mixture and then shake off the excess. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot and brown half the beef over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Place the beef in a large oven-proof Dutch oven and continue to brown the remaining beef, adding oil as necessary. (If the beef is very lean, you'll need more oil.) Place all the beef in the Dutch oven.
Heat another 2 tablespoons of oil to the large pot and add the onions, carrots, mushrooms, and potatoes. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Place all the vegetables in the Dutch oven over the beef. Add 2-1/2 cups of the reserved marinade to the empty pot and cook over high heat to deglaze the bottom of the pan, scraping up all the brown bits with a wooden spoon. Add the chicken stock, rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables in the Dutch oven and bring to a simmer over medium heat on top of the stove. Cover the pot and place it in the oven to bake it for about 2 hours, until the meat and vegetables are all tender, stirring once during cooking. If the stew is boiling rather than simmering, lower the heat to 250 or 275 degrees F.
Before serving, stir in the frozen peas, season to taste, and serve hot.