Servings: 6 to 8
What makes this traditional beef stew a little different is the way it’s cooked. Instead of the gentle heat often associated with braises, a very hot oven cooks the meat more quickly yet still delivers rich, succulent results. The key to the success of this stew is to keep the meat moist using a heavy-based pot with a tight-fitting lid made with heavy-duty foil.
Adjust a rack to the lower middle (but not the bottom) of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F.
Pat the beef dry with paper towels, trim away any thick pieces of fat, and cut into 1-inch cubes. Season generously with salt and pepper. Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil over medium-high heat in a heavy-based Dutch oven that’s 9 to 10 inches in diameter. As soon as the oil is very hot, add a quarter of the beef cubes, taking care not to crowd the pan. Sear the beef until two sides form an impressive dark-brown crust, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the beef to a bowl and continue to sear the remaining beef in batches, adding more oil to the pan if needed. It’s fine for the pan bottom to darken, but if it smells like it’s burning, lower the heat just a little. Set all the seared beef aside in a bowl.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions and garlic to the empty pot, adding another 1 Tbs. oil if the pan is dry. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 5 minutes.
Add the bay leaves and thyme and continue to cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the flour and then the red wine and 2 cups water. Return the beef and any accumulated juices back into the pot.
Lay a large sheet of heavy-duty foil over the pot and, using a potholder or a thick towel, press it down in the center so that it almost touches the stew. Crimp the foil around the pot’s rim for a tight seal. Cover snugly with the pot’s lid. Turn the burner to medium high until you hear the juices bubble. Put the pot in the oven and cook for 1 hour. Check the stew: If the meat is fork-tender, it’s done; if not, cook for another 15 minutes, adding a little more water to the pan if it looks dry.
Meanwhile, in a separate large sauté pan, heat enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Sauté the carrots and turnips over medium heat until just tender, about 15 minutes. (Alternatively, you can steam the vegetables.) Add the potatoes (if using) and brown them lightly. Add the thawed peas and cook until warmed through.
Remove the pot from the oven, carefully remove the foil, and stir in the cooked vegetables. Remembering that the pot and lid are hot, cover again with the foil and the lid. Let stand so that the meat rests and the vegetables marry with the stew, about 15 minutes. When ready to serve, the stew juices might need thinning to achieve a thin gravy texture. If so, stir in water—1/4 cup at a time—as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Gently reheat, if necessary, and serve garnished with the parsley.
Serve with Garlic-Infused Mashed Potatoes and Celery Root.
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Made day before. Used Italian seasoning suggestion and wine/tomatoes stewing liquid. Some sticking to pot but found time recommended too short time in oven (1 1/2 hours ) left some meat tough. next day I took out meal from refrigerator and heated at 400 degrees and for another hour (added water to cover meet and create more sauce. Put over egg noodles. Served veggies as a side. Will make again.
The flavour is amazing! I had stew beef so I had to cook this for 3 hours for it to break down, and adding water as it goes. I did potatoes, carrots and cabbage and sautéed those for over 20 minutes. Served with fresh crusty bread and LOTS of butter :)
I made this as written. I had to bin it. Fortunately only the sides of my favourite pot burned. I cooked it to the right temperature and the right time, and my oven is reliable, but there was almost no liquid when I took it out. I tried rescuing it, but it was tasteless. I usually rely on Fine Cooking recipes as well as the reviews, but this was a disappointment.
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