Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Lou's Most Excellent 750ml Wine Stew

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated, ‘Hearty Beef Stew’

Make this stew in a large, heavy-bottomed soup kettle measuring at least ten inches in diameter. If the kettle is any smaller, you may need to cook the meat in three - four batches rather than two.

Also, this recipe takes just about all day to cook. If having it for dinner you’ll need to start around 10ish.

Why a whole bottle? I think I was on my second bottle while making the original and wound up adding all of said second bottle instead of one cup...accidently. I wouldn't call it a discovery of superglue moment but I think it ranks up there. I make a thicker roux to compensate for the thinness so you still get something hearty.

The short ribs are a nice little addition. Call them a bonus for folks that get one as they just melt in your mouth.


4 pounds chuck roast, cut into 1.5 inch cubes
3 beef short ribs (optional)
1 TBS kosher salt
1 TBS fresh, coarse ground black pepper
5 TBS vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped into half rings
5 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 TBS tomato paste
6 TBS unbleached all-purpose flour
1 bottle (750ml) red wine (preferably cheap cab sauvignon, cab franc, or camenere)
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 TSB dried thyme
8 small boiling potatoes , peeled and quartered
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 cup frozen peas (6 ounces), thawed
3 TBS minced fresh parsley leaves

Heat oven to 225 degrees. Place beef cubes in large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat in large oven proof, nonreactive soup kettle or Dutch oven; add beef to kettle in two to three separate batches. Brown meat (and short ribs, if using) on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch, adding more oil if needed. Set meat aside.

Add ~2 TBS oil and onions to now empty Dutch oven; sauté over medium heat until slightly softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and tomato paste; continue to sauté about 30 seconds longer. Stir in flour; cook until pasty and lightly colored, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add stock, bay leaves, and thyme and stir until thickened and bits on bottom of pan mixed in too; bring to simmer. Add wine, bring to simmer, then add meat and remaining juices; return to simmer. Cover and place in oven; simmer undisturbed for about 4 hours.

Remove from oven, add potatoes and carrots, cover, and return to oven. Simmer about 2 hours. Add peas and allow to stand 5 minutes. Stir in parsley, adjust seasonings, and serve.

[Can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated up to 3 days.]

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