Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My new favorite beef stew

I made this last night and it was delicious! The bacon added so much to the flavor, and yes, I realize it has mushrooms, but listen people. I used to hate, abhor, despise, mushrooms. Then I had some cooked well. Cooked in butter in a sizzling hot pan until they were well browned and crispy on the outside, sprinkled with kosher salt. Divine. Delicious. I could eat them every day now. And in this stew application they take on the flavor of the broth and add texture. If you've never had mushrooms or are afraid of them, try them in this recipe and I think you may change your mind. Or next time you're at my house ask me to saute some up for you. Yum.

Beef Stew with Bacon, Mushrooms, and Pearl Onions
This stew is delicious over mashed potatoes

3 lbs beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes.
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
4 oz sliced bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 tbls vegetable oil
2 medium-large onions, chopped coarse (about 2 cups)
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
3 tbls flour
1 ½ cups full-bodied red wine
1 ½ cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme
1 lb small white button mushrooms, quartered
1 cup frozen pearl onions, cooked according to package directions (I found that 1 cup frozen equaled about ½ cup when they were cooked which wasn’t enough for us. So I did closer to 2 cups frozen)
¼ cup minced parsley

1. Heat oven to 250 degrees. Place beef cubes in large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Fry bacon in large ovenproof Dutch oven over medium heat until golden brown, about 7 minutes. Drain bacon, reserving bits and drippings separately. Increase heat to medium-high and heat 2 tablespoons bacon drippings in Dutch oven. Add half of meat and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove meat and set aside on plate. Repeat process with another tablespoon of bacon drippings and remaining meat.

2. Add onions to empty Dutch oven and sauté until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and continue to cook for 30 seconds. Stir in flour and cook until lightly colored, 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine, scraping up any browned bits that may have stuck to the pot. Add stock, bay leaves, and thyme, and bring to a simmer. Add meat and bacon bits and return to a simmer. Cover and place pot in oven. Cook until meat is almost tender, 2 to 2 ½ hours.

3. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons bacon drippings in large skillet. Add mushrooms and sauté over high heat until browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to large bowl. Add cooked pearl onions and sauté until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add onions to bowl with mushrooms.

4. Add mushrooms and onions to stew when meat is almost tender. Cover and return pot to oven. Cook until meat is completely tender, 20 to 30 minutes. (Can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated up to 3 days. Reheat on top of the stove.)

5. Stir in parsley, discard bay leaves, adjust seasonings, and serve.

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