Winter Warm-up: Stew

I have arrived back in Brooklyn in one piece and have spent most of the week eating out or eating things like ramen noodles because I was too busy to get to the grocery store the first few days and too lazy to actually cook anything the rest of the week.  Yesterday it was snowing and pretty cold.  I was sitting by the window of my favorite coffee shop freezing, and decided I wanted something delicious, hearty, and warm and my recent craving for beef vegetable stew cropped up.
So, with many other things to do, I set home to find a recipe and head to the grocery store instead.  I couldn’t find a recipe that had everything I wanted in my fantasy stew in my cookbooks or online. I started with this Irish Beef Stew recipe from Simple Recipes and added extra veggies from a Beef-Vegetable Soup recipe in my Betty Crocker cookbook that had similar proportions of other ingredients.
The result was two or three hours of cooking and some yummy stew. It was really flavorful and full of vegetables like I was hoping. I still feel like it was missing something… maybe it need to have barley in it, or maybe just salt and pepper cooked in.  I haven’t figured it out yet.  Even so, I guess my first attempt at mashing up recipes was a success.

Vegetable Beef Stew

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds chuck beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups beef broth ( I made mine with bullion cubes and boiling water)
  • I cup of Guinness beer
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 5 russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 5 cups)
  • 1 bag of pearl onions (about 1-2 pound bag- I forgot to look before throwing the label away)- make sure to follow the package instructions to peel the little guys
  • 2 cups (about 4 medium) carrots, cut in 1/2 pieces
  • 2 celery stalks, cut in 1/2 pieces
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 cup frozen cut green beans 
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Lightly salt the beef pieces. Working in batches if necessary, add the beef (do not crowd the pan, or the meat will steam and not brown) and cook. Continue to cook until all sides are browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add beef stock, Guinness, red wine, tomato paste, sugar, thyme, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  2. 2 While the meat and stock is simmering, melt 2 Tbsp butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 of the potatoes, onion and carrots. Sauté vegetables until golden, about 20 minutes. Set aside and melt remain butter and repeat with remaining potatoes, onions, and carrots. (if you have a large pot or skillet and can do this all at once, go for it, I am utensil challenged in that area)
  3. Once the beef mixture is finished simmering, add the potatoes, onions, carrots, corn, celery, peas and beans. Simmer uncovered until vegetables and beef are very tender, about 40 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Tilt pan and spoon off fat. 
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
I realize that this doesn’t look that appetizing but it is!