Hearty Brandied Beef Stew
This stew has been a work in progress for about 3 years, adding to and adjusting my grandmothers simple basic beef stew recipe from the Depression era. It is great served with a fresh garden salad and some thick slabs of crusty, whole grain homemade buttered bread or fresh, hot biscuits for a satisfying meal. If desired, a bottle of the same wine used in stew or mugs of a rich, dark stout or other rich flavored beer are the ideal beverage to serve. For a variation, substitute an equal amount of the same beer being served.
- 4 pounds beef chuck roast cut in 1 inch cubes
- 1 750ml bottle Merlot or other dry red wine
- 1 cup brandy or cognac
- 8 smashed garlic cloves
- 4 bay leaves
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons coarse kosher or sea salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh ground black pepper
- 1 pound white mushroom caps cut in half
- 1 pound shiitake mushroom caps cut in 1 inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons coarse chopped flat leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon coarse chopped thyme
- 2 coarse chopped red onions
- 1 coarse chopped yellow onion
- 1 1/2 pounds carrots cut in 1 inch thick slices
- 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes cut in 1 inch pieces
- 4 stalks celery cut in 1 inch pieces
- 1 red bell pepper cut in 1 inch pieces
- 1 green bell pepper cut in 1 inch pieces
- 1 orange or yellow bell pepper cut in 1 inch pieces
- 1 1/2 cups shredded red cabbage
- 8 cloves minced garlic
- 4 cups homemade or canned beef stock
- 1 large branch fresh rosemary
- 1 1/2 cups chopped sun-dried tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon coarse kosher or sea salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 pound frozen peas
- 2 cups coarse chopped fresh spinach
- 1 cup coarse chopped fresh basil
- Favorite oil for browning
Level of difficulty Average
Cost Average budget
Combine beef, wine, brandy, garlic and bay leaves, cover and marinate overnight in refrigerator. Preheat oven to 300 F. Combine flour, salt, and pepper.
Drain beef, discard garlic and bay leaves, reserve marinade. In batches, dredge beef in flour mix and shake off excess.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil (I like either walnut, peanut or olive oil) in large skillet and brown beef in batches on medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes, turning to brown all sides. Put beef in large stockpot (at least 10 to 12 quarts) and continue til all beef is browned, add oil as necessary. Add mushrooms to skillet and cook til liquids evaporate and mushrooms brown slightly, add to the stockpot with thyme and parsley.
Add 3 tablespoons oil to skillet, add onions, carrots, sweet potatoes, celery, bell peppers, and cabbage, cook 10 minutes on medium, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook 2 more minutes. Put vegetables in stockpot. Add 4 cups of reserved marinade to skillet and cook on high, stirring with wooden spoon to deglaze bottom of skillet, scraping up brown bits. Continue cooking til reduced to 3 cups. Add beef stock, rosemary, tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, and salt
and pepper to taste. Pour over meat and vegetables and bring to a simmer on medium heat (add more liquid if stew is too thick.
Cover and put in oven and bake for about 2 hours, til meat and vegetables are all tender, stirring occasionally during cooking (if too thick, add some more stock or water to desired thickness). If the stew is boiling rather than simmering, lower the heat to 250 or 275 F. Before serving, stir in the frozen peas,
spinach and basil, adjust seasonings to taste.
You can also add 1/2 to 1 cup whole grain brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, small pasta noodles, etc. If so, more liquid will also be needed.
Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
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Chef Tips and Tricks
Looking for an easy snack or party appetizer? These little beef pockets are a pinch!
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 lb ground beef
- A pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- Mix flour, sugar, salt, milk, and water in a pan, and mix until you form a dough.
- In a saucepan, heat a splash of olive oil and add the onion. Cook on medium-high until onion has softened.
- Add the ground beef, and add the salt, water, and tomato sauce. When the meat has browned, remove from heat.
- Dust a flat surface with flour, and roll out the dough into a flat sheet.
- Use a ramekin or cup to cut out circles.
- Add a dollop of beef-tomato mixture to the center of each circle.
- Pinch the dough into a little pocket.
- Bake in the oven at 350° F for 15 minutes.