Beef Stew

Serves 6

The freezers in the Sawkill Farm store hold the essential ingredients for a pot of beef stew, including housemade stock, chuck roasts, beef shanks and roasted tomato puree. Kallie’s favorite recipe is adapted from Alice Water’s “Beef Stew” in The Art of Simple Food. She’s constantly experimenting with different cuts of meat and seasonings, so no two batches turn out alike.

2 tablespoons grapeseed or olive oil
3 slices of bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces
3 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1½-inch cubes, seasoned with coarse salt
    and fresh ground pepper (prepare a day ahead if possible)
2 carrots, peeled, chopped into 2-inch chunks
2 stalks of celery, chopped into ½-inch chunks
2 medium onions, quartered
2 whole cloves, stuck into a quarter of onion
2 sprigs each of thyme, parsley, and savory
1 bay leaf
A few peppercorns
3 tablespoons brandy (optional)
1¾ cups red wine
3 tomatoes, diced (fresh or canned)
1 small head of garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 thin strip of orange zest
2 cups beef stock
2 baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1½-inch cubes

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet and cook bacon until fat is rendered and bacon is lightly browned but not crisp. Remove bacon and set aside.

In batches, brown the beef on all sides in the bacon fat. Put meat into a heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid. Lower heat and pour off most of the fat from the skillet. Cook the carrots, celery and onions with the herbs, bay leaf and peppercorns until lightly browned. Add to the beef in pot.

Raise heat of empty skillet and add the brandy, then the red wine. With a wooden spoon, scrape up the browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot and reduce wine by . Pour over the beef and vegetables in the pot.

Add the tomatoes, garlic, orange zest, cooked bacon (chopped) and broth to the pot. The liquid should come up at least ¾ of the way up to the top of the beef/vegetables; add more broth if needed. It does not need to cover the ingredients entirely.

Cover and cook at a bare simmer on the stovetop, or in a 325° oven for 2 to 3 hours until meat falls apart when tested with a fork. Add potatoes 30 minutes before done. Check the stew occasionally to make sure it’s not boiling and there is enough liquid.

Let stew rest for a few minutes before serving and skim off layer of fat on top. Season to taste with salt and serve over rice or egg noodles or with crusty bread.

Comments are closed.