Monday, August 18, 2014

Beef Stew in a Red Wine Sauce

A terrible photo of an absolutely amazing meal!

I have been very lucky this pregnancy, in that I have been able to cook and enjoy it almost the entire time (the first few months were a bit iffy!). I'm also lucky to have a husband that LOVES food and gets really, really excited about trying new recipes and techniques. He's a great help in the kitchen, too. This recipe was definitely one that required an extra set of hands because of all the steps--and because I'm eight months pregnant and the size of a duplex, so I don't move very fast!

In terms of work, this particular recipe is really up there, but the end result is worth it a thousand times over. Every flavor was amazing, every component was worth the work it took, every bite was heaven. Sometimes a dish is just so perfect that you can't help but smile when you eat it (and maybe your eyes roll back in your head a bit--I'm not saying mine did, but . . . yeah, they did). Because we changed the second part of this recipe so much, I wanted to make sure that I blogged it so we won't forget exactly what we did. I'm eventually going to make a family recipe book, which will include our favorite dishes. This one will absolutely be in that book--with a much better set of photos! My push present for this baby is going to be a new camera and lens--thanks, Hubby! Anyway, here is the beef stew in a red wine sauce in all its delicious glory!

Beef Stew in a Red Wine Sauce
*Adapted from Jacques Pépin

First phase:

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 pounds beef stew meat, cut in 2 inch chunks
Salt and Pepper
1 yellow onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons flour
1 bottle dry red wine**
2 bay leaves
1 thyme sprig

**We used Costco's Kirkland Signature Côtes du Rhône, which was inexpensive and yummy. For more sauce, I might use a bottle and a half next time.

Preheat the oven to 350º. In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Generously season the meat with salt and pepper and brown in a single layer (you'll need to cook it in batches), about 3 minutes per side. Remove the meat, place on a plate, and set aside. Lower the heat to medium and add a little more olive oil, if necessary. Add onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the meat and any juices on the plate back into the pot and sprinkle with flour. Stir to coat the meat, then pour in the red wine. Add the bay leaves, thyme, and salt and pepper and bring to a boil, stirring to incorporate all the delicious brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Cover and place in the oven. Cook for 2 hours, or until the meat is fork tender.

Second phase:

1 package of bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 yellow onion, finely diced
15 baby bella mushrooms, diced
15 baby carrots, diced
Salt and pepper

Sauté bacon in a large skillet until cooked through and a bit crispy. Remove and place on a plate with paper towels and set aside. Drain off all but 1-2 tablespoons of the bacon fat and add onion, mushrooms, and carrots. Season with salt and pepper and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for about 15 minutes, or until the veggies have softened and the mushrooms have released their liquid.

To serve:

Add a healthy dollop of mashed potatoes to a bowl. Place a few delicious pieces of super tender meat on top of the potatoes, then sprinkle on some bacon and a generous amount of the veggies. Top with the red wine sauce and enjoy every blissful bite!