Sunday, February 24, 2013

Beef stew

Today, like almost everyday, was rainy and blustery. I love meaty stews on cold winter days. I want to make the sort of gooey, aromatic beef stew they'd serve in Winterfell.

Although, I don't think I loved this stew. It was more high maintenance than expected. Without a stir every 10-15 minutes, a gross, thick skin formed and the soup formed a crusty burnt bottom. And after 2.5 hours of simmering the meat was still not as tender and flaky as I wanted. What a bummer. I'd experiment with beef stew more, but it takes a lot of time and money. The butcher meat was the same price as Tesco's - £7. For that price and 3 hours of work, I'm probably better off cooking something else.

Recipe: Beef Stew
Adapted from The Kitchn

Serving size: 2-3 people


  • 700g stewing beef
  • 1-2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 tbs Worcester sauce
  • 1/2 tps salt
  • 110 g (1/2 cup) red wine
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 675 - 900g (3-4 cups) chicken stock
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 300g potatoes (any floury variety)

  1. Cube the beef. Try to make them approximately the same size so they cook evenly.
  2. Bring a large pot to medium high heat. Pour 1-2 tbs vegetable oil - make sure it's hot before you put in the beef. Work in multiple batches if necessary, so you don't crowed the pot. The meat should make a satisfying sizzle when it hits the oil. Be patient. Let the meat get nice and seared.

    Note: if the crust at the bottom of the pan starts smoking, add a few tbs water! Don't let your pesky fire alarm go off.
  3. Transfer the seared meat to a separate plate. Reduce the heat to medium. Add another tbs oil. Cook the onions until translucent, about 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds - be careful of burning it!
  4. Add tomato paste, Worcester sauce; stir. Add flour.
  5. Deglaze with red wine. Scrape bottom of pot.
  6. Bring heat to low. Simmer for 1.5 hours. Add potatoes and celery. Simmer for another 30-45 minutes, until potatoes and meat are very tender.
  7. Note: Stir OFTEN. I neglected the pot so the bottom burnt and a thick skin formed. I learned to stir it at least every 15 minutes, if not more. This was annoying.
  8. Serve with beer and fresh parsley.

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