I haven’t made – or had – stew in a very long time… probably 7 years or so. I kind of wrecked myself for it, and nothing’s seemed good enough, since.
You see, I’ve always loved stew. My grandmother’s homemade stuff, the stew they’d sell at the Irish Pavilion at Folklorama every year.. hell, I’d even snarf the Puritan brand canned stuff. (Shh! I KNOW!)
Then, I moved out east and got into game meats. I discovered that I make *the best* moose stew, and life was good. So, SOOO good.
Eventually, I moved to Minnesota and found no way to get my hands on moose meat. One of these days, I WILL find a moose hunter to bribe… but I digress. Beef stew can never live up to that moose stew, so I just … haven’t had stew.
That ended this weekend, when I finally gave in and decided to make a beef stew. Ah… I missed this.
This is NOT high cuisine, it’s not in any way gourmet… just a good, solid, basic stew – probably pretty similar to what my grandmother used to make. It’s a bit lighter on the Brussels sprouts than I like, as a compromise for my husband. (He’s not as insane about them as I am.) This is hearty, root-y, thick and wonderful comfort food. Yum!
PS: This makes a TON of stew. It freezes well, but I like to basically live off it for a week Feel free to cut the recipe in half, though!
Hearty Beef Stew
4 lbs stewing beef, cut up into chunks
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 onions, chopped
12 cups beef broth
1 bottle (750 ml) dry red wine
4 – 6 ribs celery
1 Tbsp+ dried savoury
1 Tbsp + black pepper
1 rutabaga, peeled and chopped
5 parsnips, peeled and sliced into large chunks
6 carrots, peeled and sliced into chunks
1 1/2 lbs mushrooms, cut in large chunks
~ 3-4 lbs red potatoes, cut into large chunks
~ 2-3 lbs fresh Brussels sprouts, halved
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup flour
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
In a very large, heavy pot, brown meat in oil. Add onions, continue to cook until translucent.
Add beef broth, red wine, celery, 1 Tbsp each of dried savoury and black pepper, and 2 tsp salt. Bring up to almost a boil, reduce heat and simmer – covered – for two hours.
Remove celery from the stew, discard. Add rutabaga, parsnips, carrots, and mushrooms, continue simmering for another hour.
Add potatoes and Brussels sprouts. Cover and simmer for another hour or so.
While the stew simmers, prepare your roux:
In a large heavy pot, combine vegetable oil and butter. Heat over medium until the butter melts, stir in the flour.
Without leaving your stove (Seriously!), stir the mixture constantly over medium heat until it gets quite dark – I like to get it to a reddish brown colour. It’ll take time, but it’s worth it – this great flavour to the stew … just don’t burn it!
Stir a ladle worth of stew stock into the roux – it’ll boil up and steam, don’t worry. Whisk it till smooth, then add another ladle worth of stew liquid. Continue until you have a decent amount of smooth gravy.
Add the gravy into the stew, stirring well to fully distribute. Stir in fresh parsley, season with salt, pepper, and additional savoury to taste.