Beef stew: worth the wait

beef stew

Hi there! Today I decided to share with you a delicious meaty dish that is easy enough for a student to cook, makes a big portion for a relatively low amount of money and doesn’t take a lot of work; just waiting time. Also: I’ve implemented my new recipe template! Yay! Tell me what you think… 🙂

I remember when I was younger I would hear people talk about “pulled meats” in disgust. However, when I tried my moms variety of beef stew with loads of butter and this smooth meat I fell in love instantly. Because you need to be at home for around 4 hours at least, we didn’t eat it often enough in my opinion. Now that I live on my own I like to cook this beautiful beef stew when I’m spending a day inside studying or whatever. The smell that fills my house right now is mouthwatering!

It’s a rainy day in the Netherlands again, and luckily I already went outside so now I don’t have to anymore. I’m currently sitting at my desk, big pot of tea next to my laptop as I never drink enough water, still wearing my kitchen apron… I always manage to get food splattered all over my clothes so I’m not taking any risks today!

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Easy beef stew with onions, carrots, garlic and red wine

First of all I’d like to share some tips on cooking a beef stew in general. There are so many ways to cook a great dish like this, but the main things I’ve learned are:
– Season the meat well. If you make a great stew the meat will still taste okay, but if you add the flavour before you start cooking it, it gets a certain richness that is oh so good.
– Add something acidic. This will make the meat nice and tender. You can use wine, a splash of white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, beer, pickles and many more options you can think of.
– Dry the meat before you season it. This will make it easier to get that nice brown caramelization. You can do so by gently pressing it between kitchen towels for 2 seconds.
– Use loads and loads of butter. This will enhance the flavour (I mean, who doesn’t love butter?!) and give your beef stew a nice richness.
– Never let the meat come in direct contact with cold ingredients. If you’d like to add some wine for example, slowly pour it down the hot side of the pan. This way it gets a chance to warm up slightly before coming into contact with the meat.
– Slowly let the meat get up to room temperature before you cook it.

Easy beef stew
Serves 4
A rich, meaty dish that goes great with mashed potatoes and some vegetables. Or try it on a bun or with some fries!
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Total Time
4 hr 20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Total Time
4 hr 20 min
What you need:
  1. Braising steak (chuck beef, flat iron steak), 500g
  2. Onions, 2 medium sized (I used one regular and one red onion)
  3. Garlic, 3 small cloves
  4. Carrot, 2 large
  5. Red wine, 400 ml (dry)
  6. Stock, 500 ml (I used mushroom flavour as an experiment: would normally use beef or vegetable stock)
  7. Thyme, half a spoonful
  8. Bay leaves, 3 pieces
  9. (white wine) vinegar, a tablespoon
  10. Butter, 80g
  11. Meat seasoning or salt and pepper
Directions:
  1. Take the meat out of the fridge and start your preparations. Place a wet kitchen cloth under your cutting board to prevent it from gliding away. Use a sharp knife.
  2. Dice the onions and chop up the garlic cloves. Preheat a cast iron casserole (or cocotte).
  3. Slice the carrots and cut the meat into cubes of around 5 by 5 cm. Season the meat well: better overdo it than leave it blend as the flavour will reduce in the stew.
  4. Heat up half a litre of beef or vegetable stock.
  5. If your casserole is hot, place the chunk of butter in there and slowly let it melt.
  6. When the butter is hot (not brown), place in 1/3 of the cut meat. You don't want to throw it in all at once: when the pan is too crowded, they won't brown nicely.
  7. Cook the meat on high heat for about 1.5 minutes on both sides. Don't pay attention to anything but the caramelization of the meat: it's okay if they are still rare inside as long as they have that nice brown cook on the outside.
  8. Take the first batch out of the pan and cook the other batches in the same way. Reduce to medium heat.
  9. Leave the meat on a cutting board and toss the onions and garlic in the pan. Let them cook for around 3 minutes, stirring occasionally until golden brown. Add the carrot and the meat.
  10. Immediately add half a litre of stock and just enough wine to have all the ingredients in a layer of fluid. You can add the rest of the wine later, when it has started to evaporate.
  11. Add the thyme, tablespoon of vinegar and bay leaves and close the lid. Now we wait: at least four hours! Don't bother tasting in between, as the flavour will change during the process. Don't sweat it if it smells too acidic, just be patient!
  12. I believe that the longer you let it simmer the juicier the meat gets. I've let this combination simmer for 4-5 hours. After that I tested it and added some more pepper, and then it was perfect!
Notes
  1. This makes a great dish in combination with some vegetables (like broccoli or peas) and a perfect potato mash. Find a recipe here: http://stayaliveandcooking.com/mashed-potatoes-a-sidedish-taken-to-the-next-level/
http://stayaliveandcooking.com/
Doesn’t that sound easy? All you need is time. If you’re a student and you’re reading this or if you’ve never cooked a beef stew before, please try this and I’ll promise it’ll be so good you’ll want nothing else 😉

That’s it for today, feel free to let me know how you feel about the new recipe template!
Vivian

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6 thoughts on “Beef stew: worth the wait

  1. Hi Viv 🙂 Love it! Also reaaaally good is to use beer instead of wine. A nice dubbel or quad will do;) Or go crazy with a stout like Guinness. It’s basically the same recipe but I always throw in some ‘appelstroop’ gingerbread (ontbijtkoek) and mustard. Blends nicely with the beer aroma.

    1. Hey! I’ve heard that before, I definitely should give that a try soon… Will let you know how that goes 😉 Do you use appelstroop/ontbijtkoek/mosterd instead of the vinegar/bouillon? And what do you eat with the stew? Thanks for the suggestion 🙂

  2. This sounds so good right now! Glad it’s still winter time so we can enjoy meals like this! We made a stew not too long ago but with a dark beer, we’ve been meaning to try one with red wine so we’ll definitely bookmark this recipe! We made it in a slowcooker and you’re right – it’s the perfect meal to make as a student when you’re spending the day at home! The smells that fill the house are so lovely 🙂

    1. I know right! Maybe we should invent a summer beefstew dish 😉 ah I’ve been wanting to buy a slow cooker, I’m jealous! And I’m happy you say that: I really hope there are more students like us. Cooking is good!

  3. Hi Vivian, surprised to see you are using beer instead of wine. I should try this delicious meaty dish on Friday evening, especially it will good in rainy day in the Netherlands, where I am now. Thanks.
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