Monday, March 8, 2010

Beef Stew (aka Carnivore Euphoria)

This is one of my most favorite dishes, ever! Do I say that a lot? :) But really I mean it this time. This is so good. I gave some to a friend and her husband and she sent me a thank you note telling me that is was so delicious, it was like carnivore euphoria. I thought that was the perfect explanation for this rich, meaty beef stew.

You will need a Dutch oven or a large overproof pot at least 6 quarts in size, but 8 quarts is preferable.

3lbs beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
salt and pepper
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups (approx 1 can) beef broth
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme
4 medium red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 cup frozen peas, thawed

Adjust your oven rack to accomodate your Dutch oven on the lower middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Thoroughly dry the beef with paper towels (this is crucial) then season generously with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tbsp oil in the oven-proof Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half the meat so that the individual pieces are close but not touching, this allows you to perfectly brown each piece without stewing your meat.

Cook the meat until side touching the pan is well browned, 2-3 minutes. Using tongs, turn each piece and continue cooking until most sides are well browned, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer the beef to a medium bowl, add another 1 tbsp of oil to the pan and brown the remaining beef in the same manner, transfer to the bowl once brown.

Reduce heat to medium, add the remaining 1 tbsp oil to the Dutch oven. Add the onions and 1/4 tsp salt. Cook stirring frequently and vigorously, scraping the pot bottom with a wooden spoon to release the brown bits. Cook until onions are softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in flour and cook until lightly colored, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1 cup beef broth scraping up the remaining brown bits and stir until liquid is thick. Gradually add the remaining beef and chicken broth, stirring constantly and scraping the pan edges to dissolve all the flour. Add bay leaves and thyme, bring to a simmer. Add the meat and juices from the bowl, return to a simmer. Cover and place the pot in the oven. Cook for 1 hour.

Remove the pot, add potatoes and carrots, cover and return to oven. Cook until meat is just tender, about 1 hour. Remove the pot from the oven. Add peas, cover and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Serve immediately. If you're not serving immediately, omit the peas and refreigerate for up to three days. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, then add peas as instructed above.

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