The Ultimate Beef Stew

The Perfect Fall Comfort Food…

As fall descends and the frost rolls in, you may start to feel compelled to change up your meals with recipes for the colder weather. Just the thought of eating ice cream on a cold snowy day elicits goosebumps. And while salads are always a great way to get your fibrous greens in (and should be enjoyed year round) adding a warmer addition like sautéed mushrooms changes the salad from something cooling to comforting. 
Salad aside (pun intended), I thought we could turn our sights to hot, comforting meals. A good warm-weather meal should heat us up, whether through temperature, spice or both….which immediately brings soups, chilli and stews to mind.

There is also a sense of nostalgia that these types of meals bring that can take you back to your childhood.  Memories of standing on a step ladder stirring a pot of steamy goodness next to my Mother in the kitchen.  Or that feeling a home-made chicken soup gives you that is like is a warm hug on a cold day.  The way those aroma’s filled the house that had you running to the dinner table salivating all the way.  Whatever your favourite cold temperature comfort food is, my Ultimate Beef Stew will surely warm you up body, mind and spirit!

RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1.5 kg boneless beef blade roast cut in 1-inch (2.5 cm cubes)
  • 1 (227g) pkg cremini mushrooms, trimmed and halved
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 ribs celery diced
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups good dry red wine (one for the stew and one for you to enjoy while cooking)
  • 450 g mini potatoes scrubbed and quartered
  • 3 large carrots cut in 1 1/2-inch thick chunks 
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 12 sprigs fresh parsley (chop half for garnish)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups sodium-reduced beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cups frozen prepared pearl onions
  • 3/4 cups frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups good dry red wine (one for the stew and one for you to enjoy while cooking)
  • 450 g mini potatoes scrubbed and quartered
  • 3 large carrots cut in 1 1/2-inch thick chunks 
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 12 sprigs fresh parsley (chop half for garnish)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups sodium-reduced beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cups frozen prepared pearl onions
  • 3/4 cups frozen peas

Method:

In large bowl, whisk together flour, salt and pepper; toss with beef to coat.

In large Dutch oven, heat 2 tbsp of the butter and the oil over medium heat; working in small batches, cook beef, stirring, until browned, about 20 minutes total. Using slotted spoon, remove to bowl; set aside. Melt another 1 tbsp butter over medium heat; sauté mushrooms until tender, golden and no liquid remains, about 7 minutes. Using slotted spoon, remove to bowl; set aside. 

Add remaining butter to Dutch oven; cook celery and onion over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and tomato paste; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add wine; cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon, for 2 minutes.

Return beef (and any juices) and mushrooms to Dutch oven. Add potatoes, carrots, thyme, half of the parsley and bay leaves. Stir in broth and Worcestershire sauce; bring to boil, stirring occasionally to loosen any remaining browned bits from the bottom.

Cover and braise in 350 F (180 C) oven for 45 minutes to an hour. Stir in pearl onions; cover and braise for 30 minutes more. Uncover and cook until vegetables are tender and beef offers no resistance when pierced with tip of knife, 30 to 40 minutes. Stir in peas; cook for 5 minutes.

Skim any fat from surface of stew; remove thyme, parsley and bay leaves. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.  Garnish with parsley and serve with sourdough bread to mop up all the gravy!
Freeze leftovers to enjoy at a later date (up to 3 months)!

Sheri McConaghie is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Health Coach and Yoga Instructor living in Toronto with her best bud Jack, a veggie loving maltipoo. For more nutritional wisdom follow Sheri @anandanutrition.