(Editor’s Note: I asked my super-chef friend Lane to come up with some easy holiday recipes for those of us who aren’t so naturally talented in the culinary arts. On Day 2 we wanted to focus on a main dish that would be easy to whip up in advance for when holiday guests stop by for an unexpected meal.)
Makes 6 servings
Beef stew is a classic dish for a lot of reasons. Here are my top three:
1. It takes a while to cook, but most of the cooking time is pretty hands off. So, you have time to catch up on TV (Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, anyone?) or read a good book, while it simmers on the stove.
2. Stew tastes better the longer it keeps, which means you can brew up a big batch the night before you need it, and it will taste better the next day.
3. There’s something about beef stew that just feels right in the winter. I consider it the food equivalent of slippers – not really pretty, but super, comforting.
This recipe was heavily adapted from a hand-me-down Pillsbury Cookbook.
(Ed. Note: Lane totally marks up all of her cookbooks…cracks me up. The recipe for this is in the standing book, on the right page. Click on the photo to see her notes in more detail.)
1 ½ to 2 lbs. beef stew meat cut (I bought mine already cut, but next time, I’ll chop it into smaller pieces. 1 – 1 ½ inch pieces will suffice.)
¼ c. flour
2 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 c. red wine ( I used Cotes du Rhone, but you could use anything you have on hand – just nothing too sweet.)
1 c. beef broth
8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs thyme
1 tbsp. chopped rosemary
6 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
4 medium potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces (I use red skinned for this and typically quarter them. If the potatoes are bigger, a quarter will be too big. Just make sure the carrots and potatoes are around the same size, so they cook evenly.)
2 tbsp. flour
¼ c. water
1 c. frozen peas
1 c. frozen corn
Let the meat rest on your kitchen counter before you start this recipe (Just long enough to take the chill off. You don’t want to put cold meat into a hot pot.)
Coat beef cubes with a mixture of ¼ c. flour, salt and pepper.
In a big pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add beef and flour mixture, browning the meat. When the meat has browned, add the garlic. Saute for a minute or two until softened, but not browned.
(Ed. Note: Lane grows her own herbs. So annoying, right? Ugh.)
Next, stir in the red wine, beef broth, tomato sauce, bay leaf, thyme sprigs (put the whole thing in, stem and all) and chopped rosemary. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 1 ½ – 2 hours or until the meat is tender. (Mine took much longer this time, so play this by ear.)
Remove bay leaf and thyme stems. Add carrots and potatoes. Cover and simmer an additional 30 to 40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender, but not mushy.
(Ed. Note: First of all, check out Lane’s awesome new backsplash! She just redid her entire kitchen and it looks freaking amazing! Secondly, I am posting this picture mainly because of the prominently displayed potato chip bag. When Lane’s husband came in halfway thru our cooking he pointed it out, suggesting we should move it for a nicer background. So basically, this is a big “ha ha” to Keegan because, y’all, I’m very mature.)
In a small Tupperware container with a lid, combine ¼ c. water and 2 tbsp. of flour. With the lid on, shake the mixture. Then, stir it into the stew mixture. Next, add the frozen peas and corn. Cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens. You can eat it now, or store it. If storing, make sure to let the mixture cool before putting in the fridge.