Remember the scene in Young Frankenstein in which Madeline Kahn sings, “Oh, sweet mystery of life, at last I’ve found you”? This beef stew triggered a similar reaction. I never knew beef stew could be so richly flavoured, so decadent, so boozy! (Actually, almost all of the alcohol cooks off, so you’ll not be getting hammered on this stew.) This is the best beef stew I’ve ever, ever had. It inspired me to sing opera in the kitchen!
This recipe comes courtesy of Husband’s sister, a fantastic cook and a sharp lady besides. The recipe is entirely free of gluten, and as such is suitable for Celiac sufferers. One surprising thing about this recipe is the inclusion of a poblano chile. Those things don’t play around, and yet I couldn’t taste the chile at all in the finished stew. Its flavours meld into all of the other enticing flavours in this dish, adding an air of mystery. When I next make this stew, I think I shall reduce the amount of red wine by a half cup or so, as I found the flavour of red wine to be slightly too strong for my tastes. If you love red wine, you’ll likely love the recipe as-is.
This stew goes amazingly well with this Irish soda bread (and vice-versa, naturally!). I seriously recommend that you make the soda bread to accompany the stew. I don’t know when I’ve more enjoyed dipping bread into stew! The stew also marries well with Panera mac and cheese. It sounds bizarre, but it’s true. Try serving the mac and cheese as a side dish for this stew, and you’ll see what I mean!
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Red Wine Beef Stew
2 TBS coconut oil
3 lbs. beef stew meat, cut into 1 – 2″ chunks
enough buttermilk or red wine to cover the beef for marinating
2 onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 poblano chile, diced
3 – 4 carrots, sliced
2 – 3 parsnips, sliced
1/2 bunch of kale, chopped
2 cups red wine (unless marinating beef in red wine, in which case the wine used for marinating can be used in the stew)
3 cups vegetable stock OR beef stock
3 oz. tomato paste
3″ stem of fresh rosemary, optional
several branches of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf, optional
salt to taste
Marinate beef overnight in red wine or buttermilk. If you use buttermilk, it will be discarded once it is time to make the stew. If you use red wine, you can use it to make the stew.
Blot the beef dry. Melt the coconut oil in a heavy-bottomed pot or frying pan and brown the beef. When browning beef, there should be plenty of space between each cube of beef, so brown the beef in batches if necessary.
Remove the beef and place in a bowl along with the juices from the browning.
Add to the pot or frying pan all vegetables except the kale and herbs. Sauté until somewhat tender, about 10 – 15 minutes. Pay special attention to the carrots and parsnips, ensuring that they, too, are somewhat tender.
Put all ingredients into either a 5 quart saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, or an oven-safe 5 quart casserole dish with a tight fitting lid. If using the stove, simmer for 1 – 1 1/2 hours. If using the oven, bake at 300°F for 1 – 1 1/2 hours.
Source: Slightly adapted from Husband’s sister