I love making (and eating!) beef stew when the weather gets chilly and all of a sudden, the sight of lettuce leaves is just not appetizing.
This is simple variation of the classic French beef bourguignon, and it’s especially delicious when re-heated. The flavors really settle in, and you have a fabulous meal.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds lean beef stew, or chuck roast (If you use chuck roast, cut it into 1-inch pieces. Trim the fat and any membranes, leaving the marbling. Chuck roast needs the marbling to keep the beef moist and tender.)
2 shallots, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 cup beef stock or broth, plus a bouillon cube
1 1/2 cups burgundy, or good red wine. (You don’t have to go overboard on the price, but don’t use the cheap stuff—you will regret it.)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 large bay leaf
1 strip orange peel about 2 inches long (use a veggie peeler)
3 large carrots, cut diagonally into 1 inch pieces
1/2 pound pearl onions, peeled with trimmed root
1/2 pound small white button or Cremini mushrooms. (If you can only get larger mushrooms, cut in half.)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Season meat with salt and pepper. Don’t omit this step. It’s better to salt your meat early on, and check for taste later. Salting your dish towards the end of cooking often leads to over salting, and doesn’t give the salt time to settle into the overall flavor.
In a heavy pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat, adding shallots and garlic. Sauté until softened, then add meat, and sauté until meat is browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in flour gradually, until it’s blended and lump free. Add wine, stock, spices, bay leaf, carrots, onions, and orange peel, and stir, mixing well. Transfer to the oven and bake, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours. Remove, test your seasoning, and add mushrooms, stirring well. If you think there’s not enough sauce, add a little more stock, but not much. The mushrooms will add liquid, and you want to make sure you have a nice, rich sauce. Bake, covered, for an additional 20 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender.
When done, remove bay leaf and orange peel and discard. Serve over mashed potatoes or buttered noodles.
Serves 4 to 6