Ah man, stew. I bloody love stew. I grew up with my mom making typical beef stew. Ya know, chunks of beef and potatoes and carrots in a thick gravy made with flour. So simple, yet so delicious. Then she went vegetarian... so no more beef stew. And it's really hard to find a good stew. You see all these "stews" with a thin broth base. That's not stew. That's soup. Like how Manhattan Clam Chowder isn't chowder. I'm from New England, I know these things.
I learned how to recreate my mom's stew last year using cornstarch to thicken, so I could share with my gluten free roommate. But now, with corn off limits, I haven't had much luck getting the right thickness with arrowroot. It just wouldn't cooperate.
So, imagine my joy when I made this beauty. I didn't really set out to make a stew like I remembered. I just wanted a tasty combination of beef and horseradish. Instead, I got magical stew. Have I said stew enough yet today? Stew. Stew. STEW.
Anyway. Yes, there are lots of ingredients, but I promise. It's easy. So easy, a caveman could do it (see what I did there? PALEO).
|Why is my stove always dirty?|
2-3 lbs stew beef/chuck roast
2 tbsp cooking fat
1 red onion, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup red wine (broth works too, but won't be as rich)
4 cups broth (I used chicken, but I bet beef is rich and amazing)
3 medium carrots
1 large sweet potato
1 cup green beans
3-5 tbsp prepared horseradish*
*aim for one with no additives except vinegar and salt. I used Boar's Head
Note: stew is amazingly flexible. Don't worry about exactness of the ingredients. I'm an "approximate" kind of cook anyway. Don't even worry about cooking time. You could probably tack on another hour before you add the green beans and it'll just get more tender and amazing.
Preheat oven to 350 and move top rack down to bottom 1/3 of oven
If using chuck roast, chop into 1 inch cubes. Apply lots of salt and pepper to beef (seriously, don't be stingy)
Heat fat in dutch oven to medium high
Brown meat in batches, remove to a bowl and set aside
Add chopped onion to dutch oven to soften, then add garlic for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant
Pour in cup of wine (or broth), stirring to get bits from the bottom
Simmer to reduce for 5 minutes
Add broth and bring to a boil
Add back beef, including any juice in the bowl, and cover
Place in oven for one hour
Meantime, chop carrots and sweet potato into small cubes, cut green beans into 1/3s
After hour, add carrots and sweets, cook for another hour (you can go longer, don't worry about over cooking), still covered
Finally, mix in green beans. The sweet potatoes will be a falling apart mess. THIS IS GOOD! Let them do their thing as you stir.
Cover and put back in the oven for another 20-30 minutes, depending how soft or crunchy you like your beans.
Stir in horseradish to taste. You can even leave it out and let individuals add to their bowls if you've got someone who dislikes horseradish (weirdos). Add s&p to taste, but between the seasoning from the beef and the horseradish, you might be good to go.
The miracle of this stew is that 1.5 hours is way too long for those small chunks of sweet potato and they start falling apart and blending into the broth. Boom. Your broth is now gravy. Now go forth and enjoy this deliciousness.
|I usually add more horseradish. Cus, yum.|