Thursday, February 7, 2013

"One of the Best Things I've Ever Made" Beef Stew

According to the Mr. my variation on a basic beef stew recipe was "in the top 5, if not the best thing you've ever made, babe". Sometimes I think he just says stuff like that to stroke my ego, but this time he was being honest. He ate all but the one serving he saved for me and then informed me that I needed to get some more stew meat from Alec and make another batch for the Super Bowl (which at the time was over a week away). I made the stew again for the get-together and he was kind enough to let everyone try it before stashing one last serving in the car for himself. I'm not joking. It's pretty good beef stew and it was inspired by The Pioneer Woman Cooks Recipe: Beef Stew with Mushrooms.

As is usually the case, the first step in my cooking process is to clean my incredibly small and therefore, perpetually messy kitchen. Once that was done I got all my ingredients together to show you! I said I'd take more pictures!
Hey, Black Box is the classy boxed wine, don't judge me.
The only thing not in that picture is the beef. The recipe calls for 2 lbs, I only had 1 from LWF and originally intended to make a half batch then decided while grocery shopping to make a full batch and show you the difference in what you get from us and what you get from Kroger.
Meh... meat of the left, Sexy meat on the right.
The pink meat on the left is from Kroger and the redder meat on the right is Leaping Waters. I wish the picture did justice to the true color difference. Kroger meat is pink, you've seen it. LWF meat is deep, dark, almost purple or burgundy. Comparing the two reminds me of comparing cheap house red wine and $80 bottle of Bordeaux. Even if you don't know anything about meat or wine, you know which one of the two is going to taste better, richer, more flavorful.
So, now that I've had a chance to point out how different looking LWF beef is we should probably get to cooking. We're gonna use that "one pot method" I told you about last time. So aside from that pot, a cutting board, sharp knife, and a spoon (or tongs, for some reason I always end up cooking with tongs) all you need is a glass for your extra Black Box wine. Oh, and a bowl for your raw meat. 

Start by making sure all your stew meat pieces are about the same size. The chunks of Kroger meat were about double to triple the size of the LWF meat so all that had to be trimmed down. Then I washed and chopped up all the ingredients I showed you above: 
8-10 oz. of baby portabello or cremini mushrooms (Eats Natural Foods) washed not chopped
4 small (about a cup peeled and chopped) carrots (GFGP-Swarey Farm)
2 shallots (Eats)
1/3 cup white onion (Kroger)
approx. 3 cloves garlic (I used equivalent amount of GFGP-Seven Springs Elephant Garlic since 1 clove is about the same size as 6 regular cloves)
1.5-2 cups potatoes (Yukon Golds-Kroger and Red-Eats)
I also bought a package of poultry herbs (rosemary, sage, and thyme) which also taste delicious with beef and probably pork. (Kroger) Don't chop those up, just rinse.
 Enormous Elephant Garlic, onion, and shallots
Once all my ingredients were chopped and ready to go into the stew I tossed the meat in 2 Tbsp of flour (Big Spring Mill - Elliston, VA that's also where we get our feed). Heat up a few tablespoons of butter (Mountain View Farm Dairy, Homestead Butter - this stuff is amazing. So bright yellow and perfectly sea salty, it's heavenly.) and a few tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven. Once your butter is good and hot sear the floured beef in two batches so as not to crowd the meat. Let it sit for a while before you turn the pieces (That's why I was using the tongs!), you really want to get a bit of a char on the meat and leave some stuff behind in the pot. Add more butter for the second batch if you need to or like me, just want to.
Not hot enough, but look at how yellow that yummy melted butter is.
Remove the seared beef from the pot and put it back in the bowl it was in earlier (it's fine if some raw meat juice gets on the cooked meat, it's going back into boiling liquid later for 30+ minutes) but be sure to leave behind the love, I mean, fat, butter, and charred bits.
I'd say I browned the meat, not really seared it. It was still good.
Now toss the garlic, onion, and shallots in the pot to soften in the fat and juices. Make sure that you've turned the heat down from searing the beef so that you down burn them. Cook until transparent.
 If someone could make me a candle that smells like this, I'll forever be in your debt.
Potatoes go in next. I let mine cook for a couple of minutes without liquid to absorb some of the onion/garlic/shallot fat flavor before I poured in 1/2 cup of red wine.
 There are those tongs! On my spoon and lid rest. It's pretty awesome.
Then add your carrots and the whole can of beef consomme and a can full of water. I know Pioneer Woman says to use half, but I figure since we're putting carrots and potatoes in our stew as well, we're gonna need more liquid. Heck, put some more wine in there too, just for good measure. I may have ;) Bring the liquid up to a boil and then add the mushrooms, whole.
If only there was a way to link to a smell. One day...
Put the beef and any juice that may have run off in the bowl back into the pot and add plenty of fresh cracked pepper, black or peppercorn medley, which ever you prefer. I didn't add any salt because of the deliciously salty butter and the whole can of Campbell's Beef Consomme that went into the stew. I don't even want to know how much salt was in the consomme. If someone can find organic, low sodium beef consomme, please let me know in the comments section. Put a few sprigs of rosemary, thyme, and sage into pot whole - do not chop. You're gonna fish those out of the stew in about 40 minutes. If you have kitchen twine, tie them into a bundle. Let the stew simmer for about 30 minutes.
 This is the last picture taken before the Mr. DEVOURED the stew. The liquid gets more gravy-y.
After 30 minutes add a tablespoon or 2 of flour mixed with double the amount of water or wine to the stew, stir, and let it simmer for at least 10 more minutes. Then it's done. Have a bowl before your significant other and/or children eat it all.


  • 2 pounds Beef Stew Meat (sirloin Cut Into Cubes)
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 whole Shallots, Minced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1/3 cup white onion, minced
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped potatoes
  • 8 ounces, weight Cremini Or White Button Mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup Red Wine
  • 1 can Beef Consomme + 1 can water
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 2 sprigs each Fresh Thyme, Rosemary, and Sage
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
  • 1/3 cup Red Wine or Water

Preparation Instructions

Sprinkle flour over meat. Toss to coat.
Melt butter with olive oil in heavy pot. Sear meat over high heat in batches; remove to a plate when brown.
Add shallots and garlic to pan (without cleaning); saute for 2 minutes over medium-low heat. Add potatoes and cook for 2 minutes. Pour in wine then add carrots and cook for 2 more minutes. Add consomme and can of water. Then add salt and pepper to taste, and stir. Bring to a boil, add mushrooms then add back into the mix the browned meat. Reduce heat to low. Add thyme sprigs to pot.
Cover and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. After that time, mix 2 tablespoons flour with a little water or wine and pour into the stew. Allow to cook and thicken for ten more minutes. Turn off heat and allow stew to sit for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

1 comment:

  1. Yum! Going to try this recipe with the stew beef in csa pkg! Thanks!