Monday, November 16, 2009

Gourmet Magazine's Beef Stew

I liked how Gourmet magazine looked on my coffee table. This is the reason why I started collecting them. The covers were so beautiful and they weren't just flimsy pieces of media filled with advertisements. They had great stories and good recipes. If asked what I liked most about the magazine, I would say that the food was photographed with respect.

It was a year ago that a co-worker of mine told me about a dinner party she was having for her future father-in-law. Her fiance and her were on a budget but wanted to throw a nice dinner party. They decided to do a stew and found this recipe. Stews are an economical way to throw a dinner party because you can use a less expensive cut of meat and it would still come out delicious. She described the rich and deep flavor of the stew and it was burned into my memory.

The stew is so rich tasting because it calls for an entire bottle of red wine. Is it worth it? YES. Don't forget to use a wine that you enjoy drinking. At the Metropolitian Cooking and Entertainment Show, Giada DeLaurentis reminded the audience that if you use a wine you don't like, the flavor is just going to be more intense when its reduced. Check out the YES! Organics on 14th and U or in Petworth for some good deals on wines. Trader Joe's also usually has good deals.

The recipe doesn't actually call for tossing the pieces of beef in flour but I like a thicker sauce and so I did before browning the meat in olive oil.

Note that I don't have a dutch oven so I sauteed the vegatables in a large pan and added the wine, balsamic vineagar, and wine into the vegtable mixture before transferring it into a crock pot. The meat was browned in a separate pan and then placed into the crock pot. It was all mixed together before stewing on high for 4 hours.

Beef Stew with Potatoes and Carrots
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine

(note: this recipe was halved to fit into my 4 quart crock pot)

For braised beef:
5 pounds boneless beef chuck (not lean), cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup of flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 carrots, quartered
3 celery ribs, quartered
2 medium onions, quartered
1 head garlic, halved crosswise
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 (750-ml) bottle dry red wine (about 3 3/4 cups)
2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
2 thyme sprigs
3 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
3 cups water

For potatoes and carrots:
2 1/2 pounds small white boiling potatoes
1 1/2 pounds carrots

Braise beef:
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Pat beef dry and season with 2 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Toss pieces flour so that they are lightly covered. Heat oil in pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then brown meat, without crowding, in 3 batches, turning, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer to a platter. Reduce heat to medium, then add carrots, celery, onions, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, about 12 minutes. Push vegetables to one side of pot. Add tomato paste to cleared area and cook paste, stirring, 2 minutes, then stir into vegetables. Add vinegar and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Stir in wine, bay leaves, and thyme and boil until wine is reduced by about two thirds, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer into a crock pot. Add broth to pot along with water, beef, and any juices from platter and turn crock pot on HIGH. Cover and braise for about 4 hours. (You can also turn it on HIGH for one hour and on LOW for 6-8 hours. This might result in the meat coming out more tender.) Set a large colander in a large bowl. Pour stew into colander. Return pieces of meat to pot, then discard remaining solids. Let cooking liquid stand 10 minutes.

Cook potatoes and carrots:
While beef braises, peel potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch-wide wedges. Slice carrots diagonally (1-inch). Add potatoes and carrots to stew (make sure they are submerged) and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until potatoes and carrots are tender, about 40 minutes. Serve over rice or with crusty bread.

Note: Giant has Chuck Roasts on sale this week for 1/2 off the per pound price.


  1. Am totally going to head to Giant today. Thanks for the tip. That stew looks awesome!!

  2. That looks delicious!!!! And great for leftovers or to freeze.

  3. Thanks for the compliments. Olga, I have some frozen in the freezer. I'm looking forward to heating it up on a cold night and eating it with some warm, crusty bread.