One of our favorite mid-winter dinners is a hearty beef stew accompanied by fresh baked bread. The bread of choice today is a Sourdough Baguette but almost anything freshly baked will do.
The meat is a chuck roast of about 3 lbs. Break apart along the seams and trim off all of the visible fat. Cut into 3/4″ cubes
Dredge the meat pieces in flour which has some salt, pepper and granulated garlic added . About 1c flour, 1/2 tsp salt , 1/2 tsp black pepper and about 1 tsp granulated garlic mixed.
With your largest and widest deep pan such as a dutch oven , melt 1.5 Tbsp bacon grease. Dredge 1/2 of the beef in the flour mix and then add in a single layer to the pan. Now on medium to medium high heat (it should not be smoking much if at all), let it sit for 8 minutes or until well browned on the lower side. Flip and let sit another 6-7 minute until browned. Now remove form the pan along with all of the delicious scrapings and set aside on a plate. Add another 1.5 Tbsp bacon grease and do the same for the rest of the meat. The careful browning of the meat is one of the most important steps in making the stew. The caramelization of the meat adds flavor and color. This step is the biggest contributor to the final results being a rich brown color rather than grey.
At the end of the cooking push the meat to the side, add 1.5 Tbsp sweet Paprika and continue cooking for another 2 minutes stirring after 1 minute.
Now add the rest of the ingredients below.
Potatoes and veggies
4 lbs russet potatoes peeled and cubed to about 3/4″
3 lbs carrots peeled and cut into 1/2″ chunks
3 large onions diced to about 1/2″
1 bulb of garlic finely chopped
Herbs & wine
2-4 Tbsp dried French Thyme
4 or 5 Bay leaves
1 tsp Coarse ground black pepper
1 tsp dried Oregano
1 liter burgundy
1 Tbsp Better than Bouillon vegetable base
1 small can (8 oz) tomato paste
1.5-2 c water
1/4 c flour (balance of the flour used to dredge the meat)
Cover the pan and bake at 300F for 4-6 hours. Stir every hour and be sure to taste the scrapings.
Serve with the fresh bread you baked in the meantime and more of the wine.