Old-fashioned Beef Stew
This recipe was posted on the CAA magazine website to promote Chef Smith’s new book, The Best of Chef at Home. He suggests topping each bowl with shredded aged cheddar cheese or tangy blue cheese for some added punch:
- 1 kg (2 lbs) of stewing beef
- a sprinkle or two of sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- a splash of any vegetable oil
- a few carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- a few stalks of celery, roughly chopped
- a few potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
- a few parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
- a few onions, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 turnip, peeled and roughly chopped
- 796 mL (28 oz) can of whole tomatoes
- ½ bottle or so of hearty red wine
- 750 mL to 1 L (3 to 4 cups) of homemade or canned beef broth
- a few bay leaves
- a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 1 jar of pickled baby white onions
- a few handfuls of frozen peas
- another sprinkle or two of salt and pepper
- Preheat a large thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, pat the beef dry with a clean towel and then cut it into large cubes and season with salt and pepper.
- Add a splash of oil to the pot—enough to cover the bottom in a thin layer—and toss in enough meat to form a single sizzling layer. Sear the meat on every side until it’s evenly browned.
- Once the meat is done, discard the remaining oil but keep all the browned bits in the pan; they’ll add lots of flavour to the stew.
- Add half of the vegetables—reserving the other half—and all the meat back to the pot. Add the tomatoes and enough wine and beef broth to barely cover the works. Add the bay leaves and rosemary and bring the pot to a simmer.
- Continue cooking until the meat is almost tender, about 1 hour, then add the remaining vegetables and the baby onions. Continue simmering until the meat and veggies are tender, another 30 minutes or so. When the stew is tender, add the frozen peas and cook until heated through. Taste it and season as you like with salt and pepper.
Adding the vegetables in 2 batches allows the first batch to dissolve into the stew while the second retains its shape, colour and texture.