In Toronto, winter is finally making its way on out. Finally. We didn’t have such a terrible winter but there’s nothing like 5 or 6 months of cold and grayness to mess with your emotions. The days are getting longer and the sun is starting to shine a bit brighter. Summer, is around the corner folks!
But before we fully welcome in spring, here’s another winter-y recipe filled with goodness. I love a big bowl of stew but you really can only eat it when the weather is kind of miserable. With that said, this stew will brighten up a dreary day. I’m pretty sure that I first saw this on an episode of Barefoot Contessa back in the day but I also have the recipe in my Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics cookbook.
It’s a pretty traditional stew with beef, carrots, peas and potatoes. What makes it extra fab is the addition of a bottle of red wine and 6 oz of bacon. Um, red wine and bacon? HOLLA! The recipe also includes sun-dried tomatoes. Normally I would skip the sun-dried tomatoes because I think they’re lame but instead I decided to throw them in. While I can’t say that the tomatoes contributed that much, the bacon on the other hand was fabulous. I of course used my homemade bacon so it imparted a really great smoky flavour to the stew. Smoke coupled with the red wine was perfection.
I ate this stew with a loaf of great whole wheat bread from Brick Street Bakery. Such a great pairing. The way the weather has been, many of us probably have one last cold snap which means a last chance to make some stew!
Parker’s Beef Stew
2 1/2 pounds good-quality chuck beef, cut into 1 1/4-inch cubes
1(750 ml bottle) good red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
3 whole garlic cloves, smashed
3 bay leaves
6 ounces bacon, cut in 1-inch pieces
Freshly ground black pepper
Good olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onions
2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut diagonally in 1 1/2-inch chunks
1 pound small potatoes, halved or quartered
1 (14 1/2 ounce can) beef stock
1 large (2 small) branch fresh rosemary
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and sliced
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas (not petits pois)
1.?Put the beef, red wine, whole garlic, and bay leaves in a bowl. Marinate overnight in the fridge.
2.?The next day, preheat the oven to 300?F.
3.?Brown the bacon in a large (12-inch) sauté pan for 5 to 7 minutes, over medium-low heat. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a Dutch oven. Combine 2 cups of flour, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 tablespoon pepper. Lift the beef out of the marinade and discard the bay leaves and garlic, saving the marinade. In batches, dredge the cubes of beef in the flour mixture and then shake off the excess. In the sauté pan, brown half the beef over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Place the beef in the Dutch oven with the bacon and continue to brown the remaining beef, placing it all in the Dutch oven.
4.?Lower the heat to medium-low, add the onions to the sauté pan, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the carrots and potatoes and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Place all the vegetables in the Dutch oven with the beef. Add 2 1/2 cups of the reserved marinade (discard the rest) to the sauté pan and cook over high heat to deglaze the bottom of the pan, scraping up all the brown bits with a wooden spoon. Add the beef stock, rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables in the Dutch oven and bring it to a simmer over medium heat on top of the stove. Cover the pot and place it in the oven for 2 hours, until the meat and vegetables are all tender, stirring once during cooking. If the stew is boiling rather than simmering, lower the heat to 250?F or 275?F.
5.?When the stew is done and the meat is tender, whisk 2 tablespoons of flour and 1 cup of the sauce together and pour it back into the stew. Simmer for 3 minutes, until thickened. Stir in the frozen peas, season to taste, and serve hot.
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics
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