I love making soups and stews during winter. Last week we featured a Vietnamese beef stew, which combined French techniques with Vietnamese flavors. This stew, which employs a broth of beef stock, red wine, and tomatoes, has a more traditional, country feel, and is equally delicious. It is also fool-proof and requires no complicated ingredients or techniques.
Like the Vietnamese stew, I made this one with boneless short ribs, which I find to be more tender than brisket; but either one works great. I also like to sear the meat to give the stew some crispy, charred flavor, but the stew is still excellent without browning the meat. A good shortcut is using V8 juice as your source of tomatoes - it adds almost as much thickening quality as tomato paste, while imparting a fuller flavor.
Now that winter is ending, stay tuned for our Spring recipes.
Red Wine and Tomato Beef Stew2 pounds cubed beef brisket or boneless short ribs
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 cups beef stock or low sodium beef broth
1 1/2 cups dry red wine such as Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon
1 small can tomato paste or 1 1/2 cups V8 juice
3 medium potatoes, cut into chunks
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch lengths
1 bag frozen peas
2 bay leaves
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
3 tablespoons olive oil
1. Drizzle beef with 1 tablespoon of the oil, and sprinkle with lots of salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir to coat. Take the frozen peas out of the freezer to defrost.
2. Heat a medium to large Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot over high heat. You're now going to brown the beef. Depending on how large your pot is, add half or all of the remaining oil. When the oil is hot, add the beef. Do not overcrowd the beef or it will not sear. Work in batches if you have to. Brown the beef on all sides and then transfer to a plate.
3. Decrease the heat to medium and add the onion for about 10 minutes until it is nicely caramelized. Add the garlic, and cook for 1 more minute.
4. Add the beef and pour in the stock, wine, and V8 or tomato paste. Turn the heat back up to high and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the bay leaves and thyme and decrease heat so that the liquid is at a gentle boil, and simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours until the meat is tender.
5. Add the carrots and potatoes and cook for 30 minutes longer. Add the peas, stir, and cook for another minute or two until the peas are warmed up.
6. Serve immediately and top with chopped parsley. It also works nicely over egg noodles.
Total time: about 2 1/2 hours, mostly passive
Makes about 6 servings