Cooks all over the world rely on the simplicity of gently simmering and transforming tough, flavorful cuts of meat into tender meals. Here’s how to create your own tender stew and add some of your own personality while you’re at it!
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
2 pounds stewing beef, cut in large cubes
sprinkle or two salt
lots freshly ground pepper
2 large onions cut in 8
1 head garlic, peeled and chopped
2 pounds any fresh mushroom assortment (button, Cremini, Portobello, Enoki)
1 bottle (750 ml) hearty red wine
5 1/2 oz can tomato paste
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon vinegar
Add a splash of oil to the pot and toss in enough meat to make one single layer. Patiently sear the meat on all sides, turning with a fork to ensure all sides are nicely browned. This step is important as it creates the all-important deep brown flavor base for your stew! Repeat with the remaining beef until it’s all browned then return it all to the pot.
Now pile the onions, garlic and mushrooms all in the pot together. Pour in your red wine and stir in the tomato paste. Add the bay leaves and rosemary and bring the pot to a simmer.
Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and adjust your heat to the lowest possible setting that will maintain a simmer. We want all that juicy goodness to stay right in the pot. Your stew is done when the meat is tender, which will take an hour or two.
Finish your stew by stirring in the vinegar. Dish it up and share over baby spinach, your favourite pasta, potatoes or bean sprouts!
Recipe from Chef Michael’s Kitchen
© Chef Michael Smith
Freestyle Twist: It’s easy to bring the flavours of the world to this heartwarming stew. For a Mediterranean twist leave out the mushrooms, toss in some dried apricots, raisins, or figs and some nuts. To bring an Asian flair add ginger, green onion, soy sauce and Chinese 5-spice. And if your tastes run Southwestern some dried tomatoes, black beans and chili peppers will do the trick. Whatever your mood, a good stew is the perfect place to twist in some personalized flair!
If you’re a home cook you need a good meat sauce recipe up your sleeve. This is one of mine. Its secret is that I don’t brown the meat. That way it doesn’t toughen and need hours of braising to tenderize again. I also use a food processor to save a lot of knife work. Quick, easy and tasty!
In many Italian restaurants the menu term “Tuscan Beef” refers to a particular style of serving beef that is always dramatically finished at the table. An extra thick slab of premium beeflarge enough to serve at least four peopleis slowly roasted on a grill and presented to the table with a classic group of ingredients: arugula leaves, extra virgin olive oil, lemon zest and juice, shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, sea salt and freshly cracked peppercorns. The meat is thinly sliced and draped over a salad of sorts. The results are authentically Italian, spectacularly delicious and a great way to satisfy your primal beef craving and show off at your next dinner party.