Vegetable oil, for searing
2.0 pounds beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic, crushed
6 teaspoons all-purpose flour
3 cups beef broth
2 sprigs parsley & 1 sprig fresh thyme
6 small red potatoes
2.5 cups baby carrots
1 cup peas
Step 1: Wash and slice the veggies. I used red potatoes, but any should do – yukon gold, russet, fingerlings, whatever you have on hand. This stew doesn’t judge. Give em a good scrubbing, peel (I like keeping the skin on when I use reds) and slice into hearty chunks and set aside.
I used baby carrots but you’re more than welcome to use grown up carrots too. Short cuts are ok every now and then. I have no idea why these look radioactive orange here.
Typically, beef stew calls for celery but I’m not a big fan of those, so I substituted them with peas. I don’t know what it is about celery but even slathering them in peanut butter can’t make a believer outta me. However, if you love celery in your stews, knock yourself out!
Step 2: Chop the aromatics and herbs. Snip off parsley leaves, give them a rough chop then set aside. Leave the rosemary as is. I used 2 sprigs but next time I’ll use just one. Using 2 was a bit too ‘herb-y’ for me.
Slice the onion into big chunks.
Crush the garlic cloves and give em a rough chop.
Step 3: Take the meat out, wash and slice into cubes. Or, you can do like me and let the cute butcher at Whole Foods cube them up for you.
Step 4: Take out a frying pan, drizzle a little bit of oil and heat on medium-high. Season the beef with salt and pepper while you wait. When the oil is heated, add the meat cubes. Then Don’t. touch. them. Let them sizzle, let them sit and get seared into that golden brown crazy goodness.
This should be about 3-4 minutes. With a pair of tongs, flip the cubes on to the other side and repeat. When all sides are browned, remove the meat from the pan and set them on a plate. Turn the heat down to medium.
Step 5: Add the onions and garlic. Fry them in the leftover oil from the meat. Yes, I just said leftover oil.
Step 6: Keep frying until the onions are soft then turn the heat down to medium low. Watch out for the garlic and make sure it doesn’t burn. Burnt garlic transcends through everything. You can’t mask it. Trust me, I’ve tried.
Don’t worry if you have brown flecks of meat sticking to the bottom of your pan. We’ll lift those up when we make the sauce. It makes the stew taste unbelievable.
Step 7: Add the flour then add the beef broth. You can also use chicken, or vegetable broth. Stir until everything melds into a creamy gravy. Season with salt and pepper. Taste and taste again.
You’ll find the brown crisps will scrape off and lift off easily into the sauce. Taste it one last time and think about making this into a gravy for the mashed potatoes. Hmm next time.
I placed all the veggies into a slow cooker because I still need to get a deep stew pot. Silly me only brought a frying pan and a sauce pan when I moved. What was I thinking?
Two things: First, you can do this on a stove. Set the dial to low and let the meat cook slow in a deep pot for 6 or more hours. The slow heat breaks down the collagen in between the meat fibers – that really makes for that soft and melt in your mouth beef.
Second. Don’t add the veggies with the meat like I did here. At the start of cook time, you should only have the meat, stock (with garlic and onions) and herbs. When I checked half way through the cook time, the veggies had already finished cooking while the meat was still half way done. I had to spoon out the veggies and put them aside until the meat was finished cooking.
Add the veggies halfway during the cooking time. Add the peas last. When I say last, I mean when you’ve turned off the stove and are ready to serve. They cook in no time and you want to avoid turning them brown.
Finally, taste it. Salt more if needed and serve.