Warm up this winter with a hearty, delicious beef stew
"Home with the Lost Italian" columnist Sarah Nasello shares her recipe for a cozy blend of beef, carrots, mushrooms and potatoes.
FARGO — If you’re feeling worn and weary from our never-ending spate of snow and cold, it just might be time to tuck into a bowl (or two) of this Hearty Beef Stew. Rich and nourishing, this cozy blend of beef, carrots, mushrooms and potatoes is the perfect midwinter dish to warm your belly and soothe your spirit.
Making stew is a slow process, but even the simple act of cooking can be healing with this recipe, especially if you prep all of the ingredients before you start to cook. Taking this time at the beginning to cut the steak, wash and chop the vegetables, and measure out the remaining ingredients will enable you to relax and enjoy the process from start to succulent finish.
I use top sirloin steak for this recipe, which is leaner than other cuts and brings terrific flavor and tenderness to this stew.
I like my stew thick and chunky, so I cut the steaks into 2-inch chunks to ensure that they stay tender and juicy. The beef will shrink somewhat as it braises in the liquids of the stew, and smaller pieces can become tough and dry more quickly.
The beef is browned in a large stockpot or Dutch oven, and I usually have to work in batches for this recipe. Once browned, the beef is removed from the pot and set aside so that the vegetables can soak up all the drippings.
I add the carrots and onion next and cook them until they are just tender, about four minutes. Then, I add the mushrooms and garlic and continue cooking until they are lightly browned and tender, about another four minutes. At this stage, the beef returns to the pot, and a bit of flour and tomato paste are stirred in to thicken the stew.
The liquids and herbs are added next, and this stew gets its amazing depth of flavor from a combination of beef stock and dry red wine. I also add a splash of Worcestershire sauce for a punch of tangy umami, as well as apple cider vinegar to pull all the flavors together.
I bring the stew to a boil and then let it simmer for about 20 minutes before adding the potatoes. I use two russet potatoes in this recipe, which I dice into half-inch cubes (or even slightly smaller) so that they don’t require too much time to soften up in the stew.
I continue to simmer the stew until the liquids have thickened and the potatoes are fork-tender, about another 35 to 40 minutes. Once I’ve achieved the desired consistency, I add a touch of fresh parsley to the stew and then it is ready to serve.
Thick, rich and delicious, this Hearty Beef Stew will fill your kitchen with incredible aroma, and your spirit with the satisfaction of a well-made meal. Take that, winter.
Hearty Beef Stew
Serves: 4 to 6
2 pounds top sirloin steak, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
¾ teaspoons ground black pepper, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups yellow onion, diced
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, halved or quartered (depending on size)
8 ounces petite button mushrooms, halved or whole (depending on size)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
3 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
Season cubed steak with salt and pepper. In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Working in batches, add steak to the pot and cook, turning occasionally until evenly browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Once browned, remove steak from the pot and set aside.
Add onion and carrots and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and lightly browned, about 4 minutes.
Stir the browned steak back into the pot. Add flour and tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add wine and stir, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
Add the beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, thyme and bay leaves; stir to combine. Bring stew to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add potatoes and the remaining salt and pepper; stir to combine. Continue to simmer on low until potatoes are tender and the stew has thickened, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaves, and discard.
Taste the stew and adjust seasoning as desired. If stew appears too thick, add more beef stock or water as needed, starting with 1 cup, and continue to simmer until desired consistency is achieved. Add the parsley, stir and serve immediately.
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Recipes can be found with the article at InForum.com.
“Home with the Lost Italian” is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owned Sarello’s in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org.