Wednesday, December 14, 2011

stew weather

one thing i love about this time of year is making delicious soups and stews in my beloved cast iron cookware. it's just such a treat having the right equipment to get the job done so every opportunity i have to use my cast iron makes me happy.

one of my favorite cold-weather recipes is ina garten's parker's beef stew. it's so good and makes a lot so leftovers are guaranteed – and equally tasty.

i follow the recipe pretty closely but i omit the mushrooms (choo choo doesn't like 'em) and the sundried tomatoes (neither of us like 'em) and i use half-chicken-stock-half-red-wine to marinate the meat so the wine flavor doesn't overpower it.

i insist on organic ingredients when i cook at home (in a perfect world, i'd insist on them everywhere but that's another post) so this stew, while hearty and rich, is also a pretty dang healthy thing to eat.

here's the recipe, straight from the food network.
if you can buy organic, grass-fed beef i would highly recommend doing so. oh, and the bottle of red wine i bought? probably not a "good" one. it was $4 at the suggestion of the guy at whole foods. and it was perfect. ps: i didn't marinate the beef overnight. it was only in there for a few hours. still: perfect.


  • 2 1/2 pounds good quality chuck beef, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 (750-ml bottle) good red wine
  • 3 whole garlic cloves, smashed
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Good olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut diagonally in 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1/2 pound white mushrooms, stems discarded and cut in 1/2
  • 1 pound small potatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 2 cups or 1 (14 1/2-ounce can) chicken stock or broth
  • 1 large (or 2 small) branch fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas


Place the beef in a bowl with red wine, garlic, and bay leaves. Place in the refrigerator and marinate overnight.
The next day, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Combine the flour, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 tablespoon pepper. Lift the beef out of the marinade with a slotted spoon and discard the bay leaves and garlic, saving the marinade. In batches, dredge the cubes of beef in the flour mixture and then shake off the excess. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot and brown half the beef over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Place the beef in a large oven-proof Dutch oven and continue to brown the remaining beef, adding oil as necessary. (If the beef is very lean, you'll need more oil.) Place all the beef in the Dutch oven.
Heat another 2 tablespoons of oil to the large pot and add the onions, carrots, mushrooms, and potatoes. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Place all the vegetables in the Dutch oven over the beef. Add 2 1/2 cups of the reserved marinade to the empty pot and cook over high heat to deglaze the bottom of the pan, scraping up all the brown bits with a wooden spoon. Add the chicken stock, rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables in the Dutch oven and bring to a simmer over medium heat on top of the stove. Cover the pot and place it in the oven to bake it for about 2 hours, until the meat and vegetables are all tender, stirring once during cooking. If the stew is boiling rather than simmering, lower the heat to 250 or 275 degrees F.
Before serving, stir in the frozen peas, season to taste, and serve hot.

here it is, just before getting its lid and being put into the oven for a couple hours.
added bonus: your house will smell amazing. you'll be so ready to eat this by the time it gets out of the oven it won't even be funny. maybe you'll even scorch the roof of your mouth because you simply cannot wait for the the temperature to go from molten to eatable. i do it every time.


Bridget said...

mmm-hmmm, how'd you know i'd love it so?! parker!

so i actually have this recipe in one of my barefoot contessa cook books. she is my absolute fave chef. i haven't tried this one yet! and i am with you... grass-fed beef through and through! not only cause it's better for us, but i really like to imagine the sweet cow i'm eating had a decent life roamin' the fields before he had to be sacrificed for my dinner, yes?

have you tried her shrimp scampi? OMG. lemon and garlic and butter galore. to-die-for.

or her chicken with 40 (yes! 40!) cloves of garlic?!

or her parmesan chicken with greens?!

i could go on. but i won't. suffice it to say, i love ina!

Colleen said...

thanks for this recipe. I've been looking for a good beef stew. I'm going to make it this week.