Warm Comfort-Fall Beef Stew

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When the seasons change and the brisk bite of cooler air starts to hit your face in October, what are your first thoughts?  Amber, gold, maroon, red and yellow leaves fluttering across your front door?  Maybe it is the anticipation of the fall glow of the afternoon sun shining into your kitchen on a day off, where you have finally had some time to make something incredible for you and yours to gobble up after raking all those beautiful leaves….or your just hungry!  For me, it’s all of those things and more, but there is simply nothing better than comfort food to warm the soul when you have a slight bit of cold buns from that fall air outside!

Can I share my stew recipe with you?  This particular variation is centered on a Keto diet, as my wife and I have been using the diet with great success in recent months.

Ingredients:

1 Medium Carrot, peeled and chopped into 1/2′ disks

1 Medium Yellow Onion-Large diced

2 Celery Stalks, cleaned, chopped into 1/2′ pieces

1 Celery Root, peeled, diced 1/2″

1 Cup trimmed Green Beans

1 Large Turnip, peeled and diced

24 Oz. Bella Mushrooms

4-5 Cloves Garlic, peeled/crushed

3-Tbsp. Tomato Paste

1-14oz can Diced Tomato, drained.

2-3 Bay Leaves

2 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary

2 Sprigs Oregano

3-4 Sprigs Thyme

1-2 Cups Red Wine (Burgundy or Lower Carb Red Wine)

4-6 Tbsp. Canola Oil (or favorite medium to high smoke point oil) for browning meat (multiple batches)

32 oz. Beef Stock

2-4 Tbsp. Worcester Sauce (to taste)

3-5 lb Chuck, cut into large 2″ cubes

Kosher Salt/Coarse Ground Black Pepper

Cheese cloth and kitchen/butcher string

 Putting it together

Making stew does take some patience and time, but after the prep, you can clean up your kitchen and let this simmer for a few hours to enjoy later.  It also keeps in the fridge, or freezes fairly well.

In my version, the creation of a rich base of flavor is important for the breakdown and flavor of the stew.  I used veggies as part of the overall dish to avoid the traditional addition of starches etc., however, this will go great with boiled potato or buttered noodles if you are not concerned with carbs.  Part of my process was to roast all the veggies, except the mushrooms, in a hot 475 degree oven for 45 minutes to get some roasted flavor.  You can alternatively saute the veggies in a little butter or Ghee until slightly tender, after browning the meat.

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Use a large (6 Qt) heavy dutch oven pot with lid.  Preheat your pot on a medium-high flame.  You are going to brown the meat, so you need good heat level to get a brown crust on each piece.

  1. Place Carrots, Onion, Celery, Turnips, Celery Root on lined sheet pan, toss with 1-2 Tbsp oil, salt and pepper and roast at 475 for 40-45 min.  Start this a little before the next step.
  2. Cubed Chuck should be brought up to room temp and dry before seasoning.  Season liberally with kosher salt and black pepper or other beef steak seasoning you like.
  3. Add 1-2 Tbsp oil to pot, when it starts to shimmer or spit, your pot is ready to brown.  Be careful to not go too high on the heat, but just enough to get a solid sizzle sound.  Turn on your vent hood, you will make some smoke!
  4. Add 5-7 chunks, brown for 2-3 minutes per side, don’t peek until the 2 min mark is up!  Allowing the crust to form is key for the look and flavor.  The fond you create in the pot adds flavor crystals! Repeat for all batches, never crowd the pot, or you will steam instead of brown.  Place browned pieces on a sheet pan until ready to place back into the pot.  Add a touch more oil between batches and allow to get up to temp before adding the next batch of meat.
  5. Turn heat down to medium, add a touch of oil to the pot, add the mushrooms and saute until water is released from the mushrooms and they get slightly browned.  Add a touch of salt and pepper when you place them in the pot. Once they are done, take the mushrooms out of the pot and set aside.
  6. Turn heat down to a little less than medium, deglaze the pan with a small amount of water or wine (1/4 cup or so) and scrape up all fond bits.  Once the bottom of the pan is deglazed, add the tomato paste and cook by constantly stirring for 3-4 minutes.  Then, add garlic cloves, cook for 1 more minute, constantly stirring.  Do not allow to burn, you re building the richness of flavor, burn is not a good flavor!
  7. Add red wine and stir or wisk into pot, raise heat up to obtain a simmer.  Allow to simmer for a few minutes to allow some alcohol to burn off and you have a velvety base sauce.
  8. Add Mushrooms, allow to cook 2-3 minutes, then add Roasted Veggies, Diced Tomatoes, Meat, Stock and raise heat to get to a simmer with a few rapid bubbles.  The liquid should just cover the meat.  Do not add more than that or you end up with soup!  The goal is to allow to reduce and create a nice thick sauce.
  9. Create a bouquet garni or take all fresh herbs, and bay leaves and tie together and place in the liquid.
  10. After you reach a simmer, slow down the simmer to  where there are a few bubbles coming up, reduce the heat to low for this and continue to stir your stew every 20 minutes or so to avoid any sticking.
  11. Add Worcester to taste…or soy sauce…add salt and pepper to taste.  Be careful to not add too much salt since soy has plenty.  Start with 1 or 2 Tbsp of Worcester or Soy and taste as you go.
  12. Simmer for at least 2 hours, 3 hours is better to break down the meat.
  13. Add stock if your stem seems to dry throughout the process.
  14. Once the meat is tender, shut down heat.  Allow to rest for a few minutes.  Remove the herbs.
  15. Serve in big bowls over your favorite underpinning or without!

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