Recipe: Rustic Beef Stew

I have a bad habit. Alright, I probably have several, but when it comes to food, I think I only have one: Perfectionism. I’m notorious for going overboard for dinner parties and—I admit it!—I cried once over hard-boiled eggs that wouldn’t peel clean. I can count on two fingers the major inedible kitchen disasters I’ve had, and I bitterly remember the handful of minor, choke-it-down ones lest I repeat those mistakes again.

So this recipe was good therapy for me. Why? I let it be ugly.

I didn’t care about uniformly-cut vegetables. I didn’t care about the mince of my garlic or the shapes of my beef pieces. I didn’t even care that I forgot to have mushrooms on hand for this, even though they would have been phenomenal, and I’m including them here anyway. It was all going into the crockpot and I wanted one thing. Flavor.

But you can’t call a recipe “Ugly Beef Stew,” especially when this is a close relative of the elegantly mannered French Beef Burgundy. Hmm…let’s go with…

Rustic Beef Stew

2 lbs. beef or bison stew meat

1 Tbsp. butter

kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

1/2 lb. bacon, diced

1 small onion, diced (pearl onions would be lovely here)

8 oz. mushrooms, quartered

2 carrots, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 can/box/jar diced tomatoes

1 cup red wine

2 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 bay leaf

1) Sprinkle beef with S&P. Meanwhile in large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter. Sear beef, just until browned on a few sides but not cooked all the way through, and place in crockpot.

2) Add bacon to skillet. As fat begins to render, stir in onion and mushrooms. When onion is translucent (about 3 minutes), add carrots and celery and cook another 3 minutes. Add garlic, stir until fragrant (about 30 seconds) and pour all contents of skillet into the crockpot.

3) Stir tomatoes, wine, and spices into the crockpot mixture. Put a lid on it. If you have all day, cook on low until you’re ready. If you’re closer to dinner time, crank it to high until everything reaches a good temperature, then turn down to low. If choosing the latter, give it at least two hours on low.

Serves 4.

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2 Responses to “Recipe: Rustic Beef Stew”

  1. That looks like a great stew recipe. I love stew, and I love leftover stew. The flavor is often better the next day.

  2. Lily Armstrong Reply 01/10/2012 at 8:58 am

    This is the most delicious stew I have ever had. Even my 8 year old daughter, who won’t eat anything but grilled cheese or chicken nuggets (ok, she is not even close to paleo) LOVED it. She said, “Mom, that stew smells really good”. Me, “Do you want to try some?” (as I always ask). Daughter “Ok”. Me…ELATED!

    Daughter, “Mmmmm…Mom, this is the best stew ever. It is divine!” Divine, I’m asking myself? I have NEVER heard her use that to describe food. Success at last!

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