One of my favorite dishes my mom made growing up was beef stew. Beef was on our table at least two nights a week, if not more. That’s probably where my love of beef stems from, however I have a twin sister who has beef maybe twice a year, and that’s in a restaurant, not cooked at home!
Once the temps get below 60, even if the high of the day is in the low 80’s, this beef stew is one of the first recipes that I make. While I love my mom’s recipe, mine has a few unusual ingredients – cinnamon in the flour mixture, white beans and red wine vinegar.
The beans simmer for a while and almost disintegrate, but give the stew its thick texture, while the red wine vinegar adds just enough acid to the dish to make it all work together. The touch of cinnamon seems to make the stew beefier – if that is even a word. If it isn’t, it should be!
Best part is that because it simmers for so long, you can use pretty much any cut of meat you like: chuck, bone-in short ribs would be awesome, as well as oxtail – just remove the bone after the two hour simmer.
Biz’s Best Beef Stew
2 pounds beef (I used a mix of eye of round and filet mignon*)
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons steakhouse seasoning (such as McCormick or Dak’s)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 large carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
1 Tablespoon dried thyme
1 cup red wine**
2 cups beef stock
14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 cups canned white beans
2 large potatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste***
Heat one tablespoon olive oil in large stock pot and over medium-high heat. Toss the chopped meat in the flour, steakhouse seasoning and cinnamon.
Brown in three batches, adding an additional tablespoon of olive oil for each batch. Remove meat.
Add celery, garlic, and mushrooms, and using a wooden spoon, scrape off all the bits from the bottom of the pot.
Add the wine. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Add diced tomatoes and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until all the veggies are soft. Using a stick blender, puree the mixture.
Add in the beef broth, browned beef, carrots, potatoes, beans and vinegar and simmer for two hours, until beef is tender.
*My store had filet mignon in the “meat bin” or about to expire bin, and I added 1 pound of filet mignon at the last 15 minutes of cooking.
** If you want to omit the wine, add another cup of beef broth.
*** I find that the beef stock is usually salty enough, but take a taste and add more salt and pepper as needed.
The Chopping Block has some amazing classes coming up if soups and stew are your thing: Lincoln Square has such classes on:
And if you want to expand your knowledge of beef cuts, The Merchandise Mart is offering a new class: “Butcher’s Cut: Beyond the Common Cut of Beef.” I can’t recommend this class enough if you are intimidated by cooking red meat in your own kitchen.
I know we are just getting to October, but I am yearning for cooler temps and comfort food dishes like this beef stew.