World’s Best Beef Stew for Winter Days
…and Jilly finds the best beef stew is hubby assisted: Bobby chops the root veggies and Jilly prepares the meat.
To keep warm during a recent cold spell in our part of the world, Jilly and Bobby – featured here this month – decide to combine a hearty selection of root vegetables with above ground veggies in a rich beef bouillon base layered with chunks of tenderized stew meat and complimented by a variety of herbs and seasonings – and – ever experimenting – a new product found at the Church of Costco – Better Than Bouillon – made by Superior Quality Foods in Ontario, Canada; it comes in 1lb jars and once opened, needs to be stored in the fridge.
(Check out: http://www.21food.com/showroom/69754/product/chicken-base,beef-base,turkey-base,lobster-base,ham-base.html Canadian, eh?)
After that kind of run-on sentence, you’d just like to get to the recipe wouldn’t you?
2 lbs good quality stewing meat (again - found at the Church of Costco, where their super tenderized stew meat sold out yesterday by mid-afternoon. It would appear a lot of folks had the same idea.)
½ c. flour
Salt and pepper to taste
3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
A handful of peppercorns
1 large onion sliced and diced
2-3 ribs celery, chopped
1 small turnip, pared and diced
A couple of carrots, found at the Farmer’s Market in Olde Strathcona
One large parsnip, chopped
1-2 Russet potatoes cut into pieces. Keep the skins on for more flavour and fibre.
A handful of green and yellow beans – frozen is fine
1 small tin of tomato paste
2 tsp. Better than Bouillon paste in 2 c. boiling water
1/4 c. red wine
½ c. or so of frozen peas
½ c. or so of butternut squash, such as the very fine products from Stahlbush Island Farms, out of Oregon, found at Planet Organic and a few other local grocers (note their recyclable packaging) http://www.stahlbush.com/
A handful of fresh parsley, chopped
An assortment of herbs such as marjoram, rosemary and thyme and whatever else you have in your repertoire
Start early in the day. Set oven at 300F. This recipe prepares a very large serving of stew. If you have any leftovers, stew freezes well for up to two months.
Rinse the stew meat then cut into edible portions as stew meat is usually packaged in very large chunks.
In a glass pie pan or bowl, combine the flour, salt and pepper then dredge the meat in this mixture, coating all pieces well. In a large frying pan add the olive oil, garlic and meat. Toss gently for several minutes to seal in the juices of the meat but not necessarily cooking through. Sprinkle over this several shots of Worcestershire sauce, add a few Bay leaves, and a handful of peppercorns. Allow to simmer a few more minutes. This allows the flavours to meld.
Prepare the bouillon according to directions. Add more water if need be, depending on your quantity of veggies and meat. Stir the bouillon into the meat, then add the tomato paste and herbs. Combine all for a few more minutes over medium heat.
In a large roasting pan, add one layer of all veggies but the peas and squash, then add the meat. Add another layer of veggies and more bouillon if need be. The meat will shrink down and the veggies will release some liquid.
Allow to cook slowly at 300F for 3 hours or so, checking every so often to give the mixture a stir. In the last half hour add the peas and squash at this stage so that they won’t go mushy. Cook for another ½ hour or so, then serve with cheese or herb biscuits and the remainder of the red wine.
From Jilly’s house to yours, now with a warmed up kitchen and some incredible aromas wafting throughout – Enjoy!