Friday, November 29, 2013

Beef stew with root vegetables and horseradish

Fall always means stew season to me. Its one of those miracle dishes that once you know the fundamentals you can tweak it a million different ways to keep it interesting. The last time I tried to blog about stew, I failed miserably and charred the beef beyond all recognition. After hacking off the black bits and continuing anyways, Brian was kind, and said it imbued a subtle smokiness to the dish. (Do we see why I love this man? Not yet an "oh bleep no, we're ordering pizza" night. ♥)

This time was immensely more successful. For one, I have much better equipment now, thanks to the generosity of our friends and family at our wedding (and preceding shower). This particular recipe was blessed by the Le Creuset dutch oven from Aunt Joann. It really is so much easier to nail with a solid cast iron dish balancing out the heat. XD

Additionally, I used a very elegantly compiled "how-to" from Fine Cooking magazine. I could wax poetical about them all day though, so I won't get started (except to say that I love the subscription Brian got me for Christmas last year, and pour through every glossy page like its a religious experience.)

But we were talking about stew.

This beef stew combines all the right classic elements, with just a little edge of surprise. I am loving having the leftovers for lunch. It is definitely NOT a weeknight meal. This is a make on the weekend, start after lunch, fill the house with good smells, drool in anticipation sort of meal.

Beef Stew with root vegetables and horseradish; fantastic fall or cold winter weather recipe.



Beef stew with root vegetables and horseradish
from fine cooking

Active time: 2 hours if working alone and slow to medium at chopping (could take a LOT less with help)
Oven time: 2-3 hours
Total time: 4-5 hours, depending on when beef is tender (and if you had help)

Ingredients:
3 lbs beef (boneless beef shoulder roast, chuck roast, or top blade, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-1/2- to 2-inch pieces)*
2 oz. thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 Tbs. grapeseed oil or vegetable oil; more as needed
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
2 medium celery stalks, coarsely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. minced fresh sage (or 1 tsp. dried sage, if that's all you have)
1 cup dry red wine
2-1/2 cups homemade or lower-salt store-bought beef broth
2 cups parsnip pieces (halve lengthwise, core, and cut into 1-inch pieces)
2 cups carrot pieces (1-inch pieces)
2 cups halved small red potatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 Tbs. drained prepared horseradish

*I used a chuck roast
**The parsnips, carrots, and potatoes don't have to balance that perfectly if you don't want. Just make sure you have a total of somewhere near 4-6 cups. I will do more parsnips next time, now that I know how awesome they are!

Directions:
1) Trim as much fat off the roast as you can. Cut to 1 1/2 to 2 inch cubes. Lay out on paper towels as you work, so the pieces can dry off some.

2) Cook the bacon in a dutch oven with 1 tbsp of vegetable oil. Before bacon gets crispy, but after browned, remove from the oil to a paper towel.
3) Chop onion, celery, carrot (these will be aromatics to start a broth base. Do not chop all of the carrots, some go in later!)
4) Brown the beef on at least 4 sides in the bacon grease. Do this in stages so the beef is not crowded in the pan. The magazine said 1/3 of the beef at a time... their cubes must have been bigger than mine, because it took me easily 6 batches. XD Each batch should take 5-10 minutes to brown. As each batch finishes, pile them in a bowl so the juices don't get away.
5) Once the beef is done, add oil to make 2 tbsp in the pan and saute the aromatics (onion, celery, and carrots) for 5-6 minutes until they start to become tender.

6) Add the garlic and sage, cook for 1-2 more minutes. Add the bacon back to the pan.
7) Add the deglazing liquid - red wine - and stir everything around to get the yummy browned bits unstuck from the pan. Boil for 5-8 minutes to reduce liquid by half.

8) Add the beef broth and 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil. Add back the beef and any juice in the bowl. Reduce heat to a simmer.
9) Crumple a 12 by 16inch piece of parchment paper (makes it easier to handle). Lay it flat on the surface of the stew to trap moisture in. Put the lid on the dutch oven and put it in a 325* oven (rack in the bottom third of the oven).

10) Cook for 1 hour. Meanwhile, pour a glass of wine and put your feet up. Also prep the parsnips, carrots, and red potatoes.

11) After stew has cooked for an hour, add veggies, stir, recover with parchment and lid, and return to the oven for another hour. Repeat step 10 as desired. ;)
12) At the two hour mark check the meat. It should be tender and pull apart easily. You can continue cooking for another hour if desired, or if meat flakes you can call it dinner.

13) When meat is done; stir in chopped parsley and drained horseradish. Stir so you don't get mouthfuls of just horseradish. De-grease if desired (place paper towel on stew, remove quickly, discard, repeat).


Leftovers keep for 2 days, supposedly. ;)


Serves 5-6, if you don't go crazy on vegetables like I always do. If you're like me, then who knows? 7? 8?
Supposedly 11 WWP+ using nutrition facts from their website, but that's got to be a big serving. And it really depends on how awesome you do at trimming fat in step 1 and such. I think we file this one under "not really a problem, because its not an every week recipe anyways." ;)

This one makes me picture curling up by a fire... serve it with crusty bread if the potatoes aren't enough starch for you. ;)

Other possible combinations:

  • Venison, carrots, butternut squash, onions, bay leaf, dried apricots, cranberries, (canned or dried), hard cider for deglazing liquid. 
  • Pork, ginger, lemongrass, coriander, squash, onions, cilantro, lime juice (to finish), beer to deglaze. 
  • Lamb, butternut squash, chickpeas (put in 5 minutes before the end so they don't get mushy), tomato paste, lemon, parsley, white wine to deglaze. 

Have fun with this one! Its super forgiving. And if you find a new favorite combination, do come by and tell me about it so I can try it too?
Which combination are you most excited to try? 



2 comments:

  1. I tried this in a small-batch mode: cut the recipe by 3, use a skillet for steps 1-8, and transfer to a mini-slow-cooker for 10+. (My folks still have the dutch oven, as I don't want to lug it around until I stop moving!) I used beef, kielbasa sausage instead of bacon, with onion/celery/carrot for aromatics, but squash, carrots, and potatoes for the chunk veggies, hard cider for deglaze, and well, I ran out of horseradish. It was still excellent, with fantastic bouquet on the broth. My next try I will do pork or lamb with dried fruits -- I love dried apricots!

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    1. That sounds excellent! Good to know mods to use a skillet work well. The sausage sounds terrific, I may try that myself if beef is on sale next time I get a hankering. Otherwise I'm with you; I want some dried fruits in the next round!

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