We finally had our first cold rainy day in Southern California. Stew weather! Tucked in my favorite cookbook is an amazing stew recipe torn from the February 2008 issue of Sunset Magazine. I have yet to find one I like more.
2 tsps oil (I used grape seed as it has a high smoking point)
4 pounds grass-fed beef chuck- trimmed of fat and cut into 1 1/2 in. pieces
4 strips nitrate-free smoked bacon, chopped
2 large onions, peeled and cut into 1/2 in. wedges
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup flour (I used a gluten-free from Red Mill)
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tsp chipotle chili powder
2 bottles dry red wine (you can't go wrong with Frey Organic Wines)
2 pounds russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces
1 pound carrots- peeled and cut into 1/4 by 2 in sticks
Freshly ground black pepper
Optional but oh so tasty
1 tablespoon butter or ghee
I have always used a Dutch oven to make this stew, but you can also use a casserole dish. If you don't own a Dutch oven though, they are awesome. I make some pretty tasty chicken dishes in it as well. I love one pot dinners.
First heat the large casserole or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1 tsp. oil. When hot add the cubed beef. The first piece should sizzle when it hits the pot. If it doesn't take it out and wait for the oil to get hotter. The pieces shouldn't touch, they need plenty of room to brown and get a bit crusty, about five minutes each side. Adjust the heat if the meat is burning rather than sizzling. They are ready to turn when they release from the pot easily. Transfer meat to a bowl and do this again until all the meat is cooked.
Next preheat the oven to 350 and add the bacon to the pot. Cook until it starts to brown and then transfer it to the bowl with the beef. Add onions to the pot and stir in 1 tsp salt. Cook about 2 minutes until onions begin to soften. Transfer them to your ever growing bowl already filled with the beef and bacon.
Add flour to the pot and stir, about 2 minutes, until it starts to golden and your kitchen begins to smell like pie crust. Add paprika and chipotle powder and stir about 30 seconds. Man does your kitchen smell good right now!
Next stop drinking the wine and add it to the pot and turn the heat up to high. Scrape up any of the flavorful brown bits at the bottom of the pot and add back the reserved beef, bacon, and onions. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover and bake in your preheated oven until meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
Meanwhile chop those vegetables.
Lastly stir in butter and salt to taste and serve it up with some blue cheese, pepper, and chopped chives (which unfortunately I forgot to add before the picture, but take the taste to a WHOLE new level). Seriously one of the best winter meals EVER! Enjoy.
Get your own Dutch oven-- Search Amazon here: