Pho - Vietnamese Soup

Pho - Vietnamese Soup
One of our favorite dishes - Pho

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hearty, Old-Fashioned Beef Stew

I've previously posted another beef stew recipe, but I like this one better.  Browning the beef in bacon fat and adding lots of vegetables to the pot add a wonderful layer of flavor.  The fresh thyme and rosemary help create a tasty and savory gravy.  This recipe is perfect for a cold winter's night.  I served this with a nice crusty bread, a simple salad and a glass of Merlot for David and me.

To change the recipe up a bit you can substitute 1-1/2 cups hearty red wine, such as Syrah or Zinfandel, for an equal amount of the beef stock.  Also, if you like, saute' 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, quartered, in 2 TBSP olive oil over medium heat until browned, about 5 minutes, and add them to the stew with the potatoes.

3 lbs. boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes
4 thick slices of Applewood-smoked bacon, chopped
2 TBSP Canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly grounded pepper
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 carrots, cut into chunks
3 celery stalks, cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 TBSP unsalted butter
6 TBSP all-purpose flour
4 cups beef stock
2 TBSP tomato paste
2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
1 TBSP fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped, plus more for garnish
1 tsp each of thyme and rosemary. minced
1 bay leaf
2 - 3 russet potatoes

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees.  In a large Dutch oven, cook the bacon in the oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is crisp and browned, about 7 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain and set aside.  Pour the fat into a heatproof bowl.  Return 2 TBSP of the fat to the pot and heat over medium-high heat.  Season the beef cubes with salt and pepper.  In batches to avoid crowding, add the beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch.  Transfer the beef to a plate.

Add another 2 TBSP of the fat to the pot and heat over medium heat.  Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the butter and let it melt.  Sparingly sprinkle with the flour and stir well.  Gradually stir in the stock, and then stir in the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, the 1 TBSP parsley, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf.  Return the beef to the pot and bring to a boil.  Cover, place in the oven, and cook for 1-1/2 hours.

Cut the peeled potatoes into 1 inch cubes, add them to the pot, stir, re-cover, and continue cooking until both the meat and potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes more.  Season the stew with salt and pepper.  Serve at once, garnish with parsley and the reserved bacon.

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