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No matter where you live, no matter what the weather, now is the time of year to bust out the stew bowls.
Right?! I’m sure you agree. I don’t know about you, but it’s cold up here in New York, it was fuh-fuh-freezing in Northern Michigan last week, and even if it’s pretty warm where you live, there’s got to be Christmas lights strung up, right? Christmas lights give me a little chill of happiness. And sometimes a little chill of happiness is just enough to send me straight into the kitchen and set a pot of beef stew a cooking’.
(Beef Stew Bonus Points if you have a fresh rosemary tree!)
Have you ever noticed that all the best things are eaten out of bowls? Ice cream. Cereal. Pudding. Chili. Nutella from the jar (close enough), And, stew. Hearty, slow-cooked, winey stew with big fat cheddar biscuits on top that soak into the stew like a lazygirls’ pot pie. The kind of lazygirl’s pot pie so warming and delicious that it brings on a contented drowsiness immediately upon eating it. At least, that’s what it does to the Big Man and I- but I’ve had my narcoleptic suspicions about us for a while now.
But really, this beef stew is exactly what the first week of December needs. It’s the same stew I bust out in the middle of February, because it’s right about then that I cannot stand another dreary, snowy, blustery day and it feels as though Spring is still eighteen million years away. It’s the kind of stew that makes Winter worth its weight in short days and long, cold nights.
And! It is sososo good the next day, and it freezes beautifully. Oh! and, if you live in the sort of wind-blown, crusted Tundra like where I grew up, you can just set the pot out in the snow and it will freeze and keep there for days*. Extra fridge room FTW!
Pour yourself a bowl and be happy it’s December.
*Please don’t do this. I’m joking. …But if you do in fact put the stew out in the snow to freeze, watch out for wild animals. Raccoons be crazy.
Hearty Beef Stew Recipe
Hearty Beef Stew
- 2 pounds whole beef round roast, trimmed and diced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup all-purpose unbleached flour
- 2 cups red wine
- 1 large yellow onion, minced
- 2 cups diced fingerling or new potatoes
- 16 oz cremini mushrooms, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon rosemary, minced
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 4 cups water or beef stock
- 1 cup all-purpose unbleached white flour
- 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
- ¼ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 2 heaping teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup grated sharp cheddar
- ¼ cup buttermilk
Hearty Beef Stew
- In a large saucepot, heat 4 tablespoons butter until shimmering. Toss the beef with the flour and add to the pan, and cook until everything has browned. The flour will start to turn into a thick paste from the meat juices.
- Add the onion and potatoes and cook until the onions have started to soften, about two minutes, stirring often to make sure none of the meat sticks to the bottom of the pot. At this stage there should be plenty of liquid at the bottom of the pot, from the vegetables and juices from the meat.
- Add the wine and deglaze the pan, scraping up all the browned bits from the bottom. Add the mushrooms, tomato paste and rosemary and cook together until fragrant, about two or three minutes. Add the garlic and cook one more minute or so, stirring often.
- Add the water or stock and stir to combine. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for at least 1 hour (preferably 2), stirring often, until the stew has reduced by about one cup.
- Serve topped with cheddar biscuits.
- Preheat the oven to 450*F. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt together. Add the yogurt and cheddar and combine. Slowly mix in with your hands the buttermilk, a little at a time, until the dough has just become sticky. Be careful not to overmix. Form the biscuits into balls and flatten slightly into disks, placing them on a greased baking sheet.
- Bake for 15 minutes, until browned on the top. Let cool slightly on the baking sheet before removing.