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Beef Stew

Posted Dec 14 2012 12:00am
While I'm all for variety in my diet, I've recently come to appreciate cooking in larger quantities.  The more meals I can get out of an hour of cooking, the better!  As the temperatures start to drop, warm meals become the norm and soups/stews have been making an almost weekly occurrence.  This soup surprised me with its flavors, and because I so badly wanted to share it with you I snuck a quick picture before I brought the last serving to work for lunch!

Beef Stew w/Sweet Potatoes and Mushrooms
adapted from Joy the Baker
Serves 6

Feel free to use fresh mushrooms if you have those on hand!

3/4c white whole wheat flour (AP or whole wheat pastry will also work)
1 1/4lb stew beef (local, grass-fed if you can), cut into 3/" chunks
1/4c extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced/pressed
3T tomato paste
1/2c red wine  (or beer)
3 medium sweet potatoes, diced
100g/3.5oz diced dried mushrooms (I used a medley from Job Lot)
1 bay leaf
3t fresh thyme, coarsely chopped (or 1t dried)
1T worcestershire sauce
8c broth (I used a mix of beef and vegetable)
1T sugar
salt and freshly ground pepper
cooked whole wheat couscous, for serving (if desired)

In a ziploc bag, add flour and season with a big pinch of salt and pepper.  Add diced beef and close the bag.   Shake until all the beef is lightly coated in flour mixture and set aside.

Heat 2T olive oil over medium heat in a large dutch oven.  Add beef in a single layer (it all might not fit) and cook until browned on each side.  Repeat with remaining beef, then remove from the pan and set aside on a plate.

Add 2T oil to the dutch oven and heat over medium-low.  Add onions and carrots and cook until onions are translucent, ~8min.  Add garlic and cook for another minute or two before adding tomato paste.  Stir well and cook another minute before deglazing the pan with wine, scraping off the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add the sweet potatoes, dried mushrooms, bay leaf, thyme, worcestershire sauce and beef.  Cover with stock.  Turn the heat to low and gently simmer slightly covered for ~45min, until the veggies are cooked through.

Taste and add 1T sugar, then season with salt and pepper, adjusting as necessary.  Serve over couscous (or other grain), if desired.

Why not throw a batch of this on the stove, and while it simmers away whip up a batch of cookies?  Perfect December weekend if you ask me :)
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