The leaves are changing, there’s a nip in the air (at least in the mornings), and the days are getting shorter. That can only mean one thing: Soup’s on! Well, in this case…stew’s on.
I broke out the Dutch oven for this one and let it simmer away slowly on a Sunday afternoon while I tended to other things (like making a frittata for the week), ready to enjoy that night for dinner or during the week — just heat up and enjoy.
One of the best things about soups and stews is the endless variation. What’s in your fridge? Chances are, you can add it. Half a butternut squash? Add it. Some kale that’s past its prime? Throw it in. Half a bag of frozen green beans? Why not! For this pot I used a bell pepper (I’ve gotten about a thousand from my CSA), a few small tomatoes, a bunch of carrots, and a handful of mushrooms.
Funny story: Many of the recipes I consulted called for 4 cups of wine as the braising liquid. Yeah, that is more than a bottle. And more alcohol than I cared to evaporate. So take a cue from my playbook: 1 cup into the pot, the remainder into your glass. It’s the perfect accompaniment to your meal.
Beef StewStew is endlessly adaptable. You can use any cut of tough stewing meat and pretty much any veggies. Just be sure to simmer the meat for long enough so the toughness melts away, and add most of the veggies in the last half hour or so if you don’t want them to disintegrate. Feel free to add and subtract veg as suits your taste and crisper drawer.
- 1 lb stew meat (round or chuck roast), cut into 1″ pieces
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup red wine
- 4 cups beef or chicken stock,* or water
- 1/2 lb carrots, cut into 2″ pieces
- 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
- salt & pepper
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot with a lid. Add the meat to the pot, sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper, and brown for about 20 minutes, stirring every 5. Add the onion and pepper and cook until soft they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste, wine and the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for an hour.
- After an hour, add carrots and mushrooms, along with another round of salt and pepper. Simmer for another half hour, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Serve over whole-wheat egg noodles or mashed potatoes, or with crusty bread. Enjoy!
* Store-bought beef stocks are usually not true beef stocks, instead made with “beef flavor”. Therefore I chose to use homemade chicken stock. You can also use a good quality, low sodium boxed stock or just plain ol’ water. And of course, if you have homemade beef stock, you should use that.