Award winning Beef Stew
On a cold day, comfort food is needed to warm up the bones. Soups are great but nothing compares to a hot bowl of stew with a crusty baguette and butter on the side.
I like to use top sirloin for my stews but the cardinal rule here is to use those cheaper cuts of meat. ( flank and blade roasts are perfect here). These cuts lend themselves beautifully to the braising process, becoming tender and flavourful as they cook in the liquid. I like to buy a large piece of meat and cut it myself rather than buying the prepackaged stewing beef.
When sautéing the beef cubes, don’t overcrowd the pan. You don’t want to steam the beef, you want to brown it. INGREDIENTS: (serves 10p)
• 3 lbs of beef – cut into 1 to 1.5 inch cubes
• 3 tbsp canola oil
• 2 onions, peeled and diced
• 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
• 2carrots, peeled and chopped
• 2 parsnips, peeled and chopped (optional)
• 2 potatoes, washed and diced, skin on
• 1/2 bulb fennel, diced
• 1 lb mushrooms, washed and quartered
• 1 cup red wine or beer, for deglazing
• 1 litre beef stock
• Fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary or oregano
• Salt and pepper
• Red pepper flakes (optional)
In a heavy based casserole, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add in some beef cubes and brown on all sides (do not overcrowd pan). Remove the browned cubes, set aside and continue browning the beef until completed using more oil as necessary.
In the same pan, add the onion, carrots and parsnips stirring and cooking until tender, about 3 minutes. Add in the garlic, potatoes, mushrooms and fennel, stirring for another 3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the wine or beer, scraping up any browned bits.
Add the beef pack into the casserole with the stock. Add in your herbs, salt and peeper and a little of the red pepper flakes if using. Bring to a simmer on the stove top , cover and put into the oven at 300ºF. Let the stew simmer for 2 hours minimum. Taste and adjust the seasoning, skimming any fat from the top of the stew. You can thicken the stew with some cornstarch/water mixture.