03 December 2013

Foodie Tuesday | Homestyle Beef Stew

'Tis the season!

It's technically been the season for a couple of weeks now (can we say: brrrrrrr.....) but for me, the first of December marks the beginning of all things cozy and comfortable. I want to spread my big feathery Mama wings and bring my family in close. It's time to hibernate.

I try to feed my family with love at all points of the year, but doesn't this season just feel like love in a bowl? For me it does. I want people to know how I feel about them - how madly, truly, deeply I love them - with every spoon- and forkful.

It's also the season of rich, one-pot wonders. I'm always a fan of one-dish meals (you know how busy we are!) and the less complicated a meal is - and the fewer dirty dishes it produces - the higher it ranks in my books. So this gorgeous beef stew is right up at the top. It goes from stovetop to oven in one pot (so easy!) and tastes amazing.

Added bonus for allergy sufferers or those with food sensitivities: this stew is grain and gluten free, and can be easily adapted (mostly by eliminating the wine and replacing it with additional stock) to a Paleo diet. It can also be dairy-free by substituting coconut oil or another vegetable-based fat of your choice for the ghee.

It's kind of a super-hero dish; the cape is optional.

So.... Ready to give your family some home-cooked love? Here we go:

Preparation: 15 minutes | Cooking Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes | Serves: 6
  • 4 lbs stewing beef
    I use a blade roast, which I trim and chop myself into 1 - 2 inch pieces. You can use whatever beef you like best, as the slow cooking tenderizes even the toughest cuts
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tbsp ghee, divided
  • 4 large yellow onions, sliced thinly
  • 4 tbsp quinoa flour
  • 2 1/2 tbsp minced or finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups white wine (Paleo diets can substitute with additional stock)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp sea salt
Cooking Directions:
  1. Trim the beef and cut into 1 - 2 inch chunks. Season generously with sea salt and pepper.
  2. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp ghee in a large dutch oven (capable of transitioning from stovetop to oven) on high heat. Add half the meat and cook for 2-4 minutes. Ensure beef is browned on all sides, but not cooked through. Remove from pot (to a plate/bowl). Add the remaining 2 tbsp of ghee, allow to heat, then cook the remaining half of meat. Also remove to waiting dish.
  4. Reduce heat to medium high.
  5. To the empty pot, add onions and sauté for approximately 10 minutes, stirring frequently until the onions release their juices. If the pot dries out, add a small amount of stock to prevent scorching.
  6. Once the onions have caramelized, stir in quinoa flour and cook for 1 minute. Add thyme, garlic, sea salt and bay leaves; stir to combine. Allow to cook for two minutes or until fragrant, then add wine and chicken stock. Simmer for 3-5 minutes.
  7. Add beef and their released cooking juices, if any. Stir in honey and cider vinegar; combine thoroughly.
  8. Bring to a boil, then cover and place in the preheated oven, on the middle-lower rack. Cook for 2 1/2 hours, until meat is tender. Serve piping hot! 

Don't freak out and think you did it wrong if your stew is really liquid-y, even after it's finished cooking. That's just how this stew is. We serve on a bed of mashed potatoes, which is fanTAStic. OR, if you're into that kind of thing (which I totally am), you can eat it "straight" and just drink spoon up the juice afterward like a soup.

What I'm trying to say is, there's no wrong way to eat this stew. Just go for it.
{gently adapted from this recipe at Deliciously Organic}
Other Foodie Tuesday one-pot-wonders you might like: