Thursday, 19 June 2014

Braised Beef Stew with Red Wine and Vegetables

As most of you guys know, winter well and thoroughly in Sydney.  The wintery weather always make me crave for something soupy, something hearty. Something that you can feel the warm glow in your tummy after eating and beef stew never seems to fail. 

One-pot dishes are my favourite for winter, you just leave them on the stove stew for hours. The longer they stew the better they are. Leftover you ask? Oooh. They taste so good.

Don't ask me why or how but stews that are left overnight somehow always seems to develop a more hearty and rich taste profile. So give me leftover any day! 

I always have some sort of alcohol in my stew be it red wine, sherry or port. Cause I believe it adds a depth of favour that's essential for the dish. Whatever I have in the pantry, so each time I make these babies they come out tasting slightly different. Good still but different. But you are not comfortable with alcohol, feel free to omit it, just remember to use a good stock.

I experimented with browning the meat and not browning the meat and i found that not browning makes the stew taste, how should I put this, taste cleaner. I know it sound weird, but give it a go and you would understand what I mean.  

You can choose to have this with mash potatoes or even put a puff pastry on top and pop in the oven for a few minutes. The latter is my favourite, writing about this is making me hungry for stew again! 

Braised Beef Stew with Red Wine and Vegetables

Cooking time: 3 hours

1 tablespoon olive oil
1.5kg of Chuck beef, cut into large bite-size cubes
2 tablespoon of flour 
2 onions, roughly diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large rosemary sprig, coarsely chopped
1 large thyme sprig, coarsely chopped
1 tin of crushed tomatoes 
1 1/4 cups red wine

3 cup beef stock or chicken stock
3 celery sticks, peeled, cut into 3cm pieces
3 carrot, peeled, cut into 3cm  pieces

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4-6 Potatoes if you are making mash 
4-6 Sheets of puff pastry 

1. In a large pot or heavy casserole pot, heat the oil over medium-high hear until very hot. Sprinkle the beef with flour and season well with salt and pepper. Add onions, rosemary and thyme fry until translucence and fragrant. Add the beef and cook for 3mins until beef is slightly browned and cook off the floury taste.

2. To the same pot add the carrots and celery to the pot and cook for 1 min. Add wine, stirring to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Simmer for about 8 mins, or until wine has reduced by about half. 

3. Add the stock and tin of crushed tomato, bring to a gentle simmer. Cooking liquid should be jus covering the beef. Decrease the heat to medium-low. Cover slightly and cook. The stew should be simmering very very gently, stirring occasionally for about 2.5 hours. Cook until beef is tender enough to cut with a fork.

4. If there is too much cooking liquid left, use a slotted spoon, transfer the beef and vegetable into a bowl. Boil the cooking liquid over high heat for about 20 minutes, or until it is reduced by half. Return the beef and vegetable and heat until they are heated through.

5. Spoon the beef stew into 4 serving bowls,  served with mashed potatoes. If you like the puff pastry option , cover the serving bowl with puff pastry and baked according to the instruction on the package.

*Note: The stew can be made up to 1 day ahead, cooled and refrigerated. Rewarm the stew, covered, over medium heat.