beef stew

Red Wine Beef Stew

This recipe makes good use of the red wine and balsamic marinade I posted a few weeks ago. I feel like it’s really a dish better suited for fall and winter, but we still have plenty of cool days ahead in Central Oregon. Plus, I made it for the cookbook already, and if I don’t post it now, the photos will get buried. Yes, I probably should look into a system to better organize my photos. It’s number 2396 on my list of things to do.

I’m sitting here struggling, trying to think of interesting things to write, distracted by my many concerns and frustrations about the current state of the world. It’s difficult to keep things light these days, but I think it’s important to try. We so desperately need to find common ground, and one way to do that is by sharing beautiful things. Creating art, being in nature, playing music, and of course, cooking delicious, nourishing food are some ways to do just that.

It’s almost the month of May. My favorite month. It includes my birthday, Mother’s Day, and our wedding anniversary, as well as the birthdays of my brother-in-law and two of my favorite nieces. It also brings beautiful blossoming trees, tulips (my favorite flower), warmer days, junior golf season (I love walking the course and watching the kids play), and the anticipation of wearing flip-flops every day. Fresh produce like arugula and other greens and lettuces, asparagus, radishes, and various fresh herbs will make their debut, a preview to summer produce. It promises many opportunities to create and enjoy beautiful moments, and I will share them with you as they come.

Red Wine Beef Stew

(10 – 12 servings)

3 – 3 1/2 pounds beef, chuck or sirloin, cut in 1 1/4 inch cubes, marinated

1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil

1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped (large chunks)

3 ribs of celery, chopped (large chunks)

3 carrots, peeled and chopped (large chunks)

6 red or white potatoes, chopped (large chunks)

2 – 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced or grated

1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt (plus more as needed)

freshly ground pepper

2 teaspoons dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 bay leaf

1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes

1/2 cup red wine (something you’d drink on a weeknight)

1 1/2  – 2 cups low sodium beef stock or broth

3 cups sliced white or crimini mushrooms

Cut beef into chunks, approximately 1 1/4 inch cubes, and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 – 8 hours.

Remove the chunks of beef from the marinade and pat them dry with a paper towel to avoid steaming and promote browning.

Coat the bottom of a six to eight quart stockpot or Dutch oven with olive oil and turn on the heat to medium high.

Brown the meat in two or three batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan. Transfer the browned meat to another pan or bowl and set aside.

beef stew

Peel (if necessary) and chop the onion, carrots, celery, and potatoes.

Add the chopped onion, celery, carrots, and potatoes to the pan you browned the meat in, along with a little more olive oil, if necessary. Allow the vegetables to saute on medium heat, stirring often.

Add the salt, pepper, thyme, parsley, oregano, to the vegetables as they saute. The vegetables don’t need to cook long at this stage, they will cook thoroughly as they braise.

beef stew

Add the meat back in, as well as the bay leaf, garlic, diced tomatoes, and red wine. Turn the heat up to medium high and bring the wine to a boil. Allow it to boil for a few minutes to reduce some of the alcohol.

Add enough stock/broth to come almost to the top of the meat and vegetables, it doesn’t need to cover them completely.

beef stew

Bring the liquid to a low boil on medium-high heat, then turn the heat down to low. Cover the stockpot/Dutch oven and allow the stew to simmer for about an hour.

Stir in the sliced mushrooms and allow them to cook. This should only take about five minutes.

Taste the stew. Add more salt and pepper as needed.

Garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme, if you like, then serve.

I had the pleasure of visiting the beautiful Oregon coast last weekend with a great friend. I drank in the green and the magic of the forest, and it made my soul very happy.

And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul. John Muir