It’s the ultimate winter comfort food: meltingly tender beef with the classic veggies, in a rich broth. The red wine and thyme give it just the right flavors. Adapted from The Perfect Recipe, by Pam Anderson, executive editor of Cook’s Illustrated. Adding the vegetables at the end allows you to keep them a perfect consistency. You can omit the potato chunks and serve the stew over mashed potatoes or egg noodles instead.
2–3 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
Freshly ground black pepper
2–3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium-large onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup full-bodied red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cotes du Rhone, Zinfandel, Shiraz or Barolo)
2 cups (or a little more) of homemade chicken broth or low-sodium canned broth
2 bay leaves
A couple springs of fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves)
2 large or 3 medium potatoes
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 cup of frozen peas, thawed
Handful of fresh parsley, minced
1. Preheat the oven to 300. Place meat in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add meat to the pan in two batches. Brown meat on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch, adding additional oil if necessary. Transfer meat to a platter.
2. Add onions to pot. Sauté until almost softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic; continue to sauté for about 30 seconds longer. Stir in flour and cook until lightly colored, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in wine, scraping up any browned bits that have stuck to the pan. Add chicken broth, bay leaves, and thyme; bring to simmer. Add meat and return to simmer. Cover and place in oven, and simmer 3 to 4 hours. (Stew can be cooled at this point, covered and refrigerated up to 3 days.)
3. While the stew simmers, peel the potatoes and cut them into chunks. Place them in a pot of cold water, bring to boil, and cook until just tender. Drain them in a colander and let them steam.
4. Before serving, bring 1 inch water to a boil in a steamer pot. Place carrots in steamer basket and lower into pot. Steam until just tender, about 6 minutes.
5. Add potatoes, steamed carrots and uncooked peas to fully cooked stew; cover and let stand to blend flavors, about 5 minutes. Stir in parsley, adjust seasonings, and serve.