This, right here, is blizzard food at its best.
Every time I make this beef and root vegetable stew, which is at least once each winter, I think why don’t I do this more often? It’s really pretty easy, it makes the whole house smell heavenly, and my entire family will eat it. We each love different things about it: Alex adores the fork-tender braised beef; I’m into the chunks of carrot, sweet potato, and turnip; and Owen…well, he stuffs himself with the egg noodles I usually serve it over.
For some reason nobody gets sick of it, either. I’m generally the kind of person who has trouble with leftovers because I get bored and just want to move on already. But we had this stew for three dinners last week and I was pretty psyched about it each time.
I mean, don’t you just want to arm yourself with a baguette and dive right in? ↓↓↓
Most beef stews have one problem, and that is uninspired vegetables. White potatoes, celery, maybe a few carrots if you’re lucky. But I think the veggies are the best part! For this recipe, I decreased the typical amount of beef (sacrilege, I know, but there is still plenty) and added tons of my favorite root vegetables. Trust me, few things are more delicious then a tender chunk of sweet potato that has stewed in red wine and beef juices for hours.
And speaking of that wine, it doesn’t really matter what you use. There was a time in our lives when Alex and I could polish off a bottle of wine between us, no problem. But that time is not now. (I guess that’s one of the differences between your mid-twenties and your mid-thirties?) It’s not uncommon for our kitchen counter to have two or three bottles with a glass or two left languishing. For this stew, I actually mixed the dregs from a bottle of shiraz and a bottle of zinfandel, and it came out absolutely delicious.
This is definitely classic, homey comfort food, but you could also serve this beef stew for a dinner party. It’s a great choice because you can make it entirely ahead, and then just reheat it before serving. If it were my party, I would pair it with this crunchy, acidic celery, green apple and walnut salad and this hazelnut apple pear crisp for dessert.
- 2 - 2 1/2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup red wine
- 4 cups low-sodium beef broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into bite-sized cubes
- 1 large turnip, peeled and cut into bite-sized cubes
- 4 carrots, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- Put the beef in a large bowl and sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of the flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Toss to coat.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1/3 of the beef in a single layer and cook, without stirring, until the bottom is nicely seared, about 3 minutes. Using tongs, flip the cubes over and sear the other side, about 3 minutes more. Transfer to a bowl and repeat twice more with the remaining beef. (Be careful not to crowd the pot or the meat will steam. You don't need to sear every side, just the top and bottom.)
- Add the remaining teaspoon of oil to the pot. Add the onion and cook until softened and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato paste and remaining tablespoon of flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
- Stir in the wine and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the beef broth, bay leaf, and thyme. Stir in the beef cubes and any accumulated juices. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour.
- Add the sweet potato, turnip, and carrots to the pot. Cover the pot with a lid and simmer until the vegetables are fork-tender, about 45 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Stir in the peas and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.
- In a small bowl, stir the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water until smooth. Add to the pot and simmer until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes more. Taste, and season the stew with more salt and pepper as needed.