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Beef Stew with Root Vegetables and Horseradish


Serves 5 to 6

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 121

This classic beef stew is loaded with carrots, parsnips, and potatoes, and gets a little zing from horseradish and parsley.

  • 3 lb. boneless beef shoulder roast, chuck roast, or top blade, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-1/2- to 2-inch pieces
  • 2 oz. thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 Tbs. grapeseed oil or vegetable oil; more as needed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 medium celery stalks, coarsely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh sage
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2-1/2 cups homemade or lower-salt store-bought beef broth
  • 2 cups parsnip pieces (halve lengthwise, core, and cut into 1-inch pieces)
  • 2 cups carrot pieces (1-inch pieces)
  • 2 cups halved small red potatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 Tbs. drained prepared horseradish

Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F.

Spread the beef on paper towels to dry for 10 to 20 minutes before browning. (You can use this time to chop the onion, celery, and carrot). If the meat is very wet, pat it dry.

In a 6-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot, cook the bacon in the oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browned but not crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate and set aside. Do not wipe out the pan.

Heat the bacon fat over medium to medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Season about one-third of the beef with salt and pepper and arrange it in a single layer in the pot (there should be at least 1/2 inch of space between the pieces). Brown well on at least 4 sides, adjusting the heat as necessary; each batch should take about 10 minutes to brown. Transfer the beef to a large bowl or rimmed baking sheet as it browns and repeat with the rest of the beef, seasoning with salt and pepper before browning. Once all of the beef is browned, remove the pot from the heat to let it cool for a few minutes.

Pour all but 2 Tbs. of the fat from the pot. (If there is not enough, add oil to equal 2 Tbs.) Return the pot to medium heat, then add the onion, celery, and carrot. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often and scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spatula, until the vegetables begin to soften, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sage and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Return the bacon to the pot.

Add the wine, stirring with the wooden spatula to dissolve any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Raise the heat to medium high and boil to reduce by about half, 5 to 8 minutes.

Add the beef broth and 1-1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil.

Return the beef to the pot along with any accumulated juice. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer.

Crumple a 12x16-inch piece of parchment, then flatten it out. (Crumpling makes for easy handling.) Place the parchment directly on the surface of the stew, allowing the ends to come up the sides of the pot. Cover and put in the oven.

After 1 hour of stewing, add the parsnips, carrot pieces, and potatoes to the pot. Cover with the parchment and lid, and cook until the beef is fork-tender, 1 to 2 hours more. (Shoulder cuts will take longer than leg cuts.)

Stir in the parsley and horseradish. Degrease the stew by laying a clean paper towel over the surface of the stew and gently pushing it into all the bumps and dips, then quickly peeling it off. Repeat as necessary with more paper towels. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Make Ahead Tips

The stew can be made up to 2 days ahead: Skip the degreasing step, cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate. Once the stew is chilled, lift the solidified fat off the top with a slotted spoon. Reheat the stew over medium-low heat to serve.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 470, Fat (kcal): 13, Fat Calories (g): 120, Saturated Fat (g): 4, Protein (g): 51, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 5, Carbohydrates (mg): 28, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 2.5, Sodium (g): 500, Cholesterol (g): 140, Fiber (g): 5,

Photo: Scott Phillips

I followed the recipe exactly and to me and my husband, it came up lacking. Used only 2.5 lbs meat, which was probably only 2 lbs once trimmed. Cooked meat for the first hour, added veggies, tested at hour two and they were overdone. I will admit my oven may cook hot and I will check that out. But even with 2T of horseradish, it was still just ok to us. Hubby added more, so did I. I hope tomorrow it will be better. Overall, too much meat to veggie ratio, and no real special depth despite the horseradish. As I have commented in agreement with other armchair critics, we are perhaps getting too used to the exotic spices of Thai and Indian food that a solid stew becomes just and only that. I'm glad others really enjoyed this. We will continue our search for the perfect stew. Thank you, Molly, in general your recipes and Tony's are my favorites.

I love this stew! I've made it probably a dozen times at this point and it always turns out amazing. Some changes I've made for personal preference are: reducing the amount of meat (3 lbs is plenty if you're doubling the recipe), adding mushrooms to the first batch of vegetables, and chopping all of the ingredients smaller. I've found that 2.5 hours in my oven yields the perfect doneness for the vegetables. Browning the meat is key! Also make sure you core the parsnip or it will cause some stomach discomfort. Thank you to Molly Stevens for making my husband's day every time I make this stew!

Made this for the first time last night and it was excellent. I added a little less water , a few more potatoes and a small container of pre-peeled pearl onions. There were four of us and we all ate well (having appetizers beforehand). There is plenty left over for another meal. I would make it exactly the same way again.

Excellent! I added 2 bay leaves, used 4 c. beef broth, no water. I let the beef cook in the oven for 2 hrs. before I added the veggies. Thickened with cornstarch and water. Husband and son loved it as did I. Great for a cold, windy January night. The horseradish is a great addition.

I followed the recipe and it turned out amazing. My family loved it and I will definitely do again. Maybe next time I will sprinkle some flour on the beef before I brown as I do like a slightly thicker consistency ... as is is slightly thin for a stew, IMO. Otherwise, perfect. Use a good broth and a wine that is not too oaky.

I have been cooking most of my life, starting at the age of 10. I have made stew, following my mom and dad's recipe and creating my own as I progressed in my cooking skills. Something about this recipe cried out to me, making me want to give it a try. I am glad that I did! There was a wonderful depth of flavor and the aromas during the cooking were fantastic. I don't know how anyone could suggest that it was bland or lacking anything. Follow the recipe exactly and you won't go wrong!

I have been making stew for many years and I very rarely brown my meat on 4 sides. So this time I decided to follow the recipe as they explained it and brown on all for sides. Very time consuming and honestly no difference in taste. The stew was good but bland.I am going to have to pass on this recipe as mine is tastier.I am giving it a 4 because it was very good as all stews are but lacking taste.

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