Monday, November 14, 2011

Grass Fed Beef Stew By Cheese Slave

My stepdad made this grass-fed beef stew when we visited my family this past Christmas. Everyone was floored by how good it was.

While the holidays have passed, it is still winter. And nothing is better than comfort food on an icy cold day. I can’t think of anything better than a hearty beef stew. You can make this for dinner and have leftovers for lunch the next day.

This beef stew is so flavorful. The secret to the full body umami flavour is homemade beef stock combined with anchovies (or Thai fermented fish sauce,) plus the aromatic red wine.

Warm up this evening with this fabulous grass-fed beef stew recipe. I know you are going to love it!

Recipe Notes
I adapted this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated. I substituted bacon for salt pork. Also, I increased the fat content of the stew because I am using grass-fed beef which tends to be leaner than corn-fed beef.

It’s critical to add anchovies as they boost the umami (savory and delicious) flavour. If you don’t have canned anchovies handy, you can substitute Thai fermented fish sauce to taste. You can find this in Asian markets, and better grocery stores.

Use a good-quality, medium-bodied wine, such as a Cabernet Sauvignon, Côtes du Rhône or Pinot Noir, for this stew. If you don’t want to use wine, you can substitute chicken or beef stock, plus a little vinegar. I haven’t tested it though so I don’t know how it will come out.

Make sure to patiently brown the meat. This is one of the secrets to a great beef stew.

Serve with warm sourdough bread and butter, or buttered brown rice noodles.

Things to Do Ahead
1. Make sure you have homemade stock on hand. Either chicken or beef will do.

Grass-fed Beef Stew
Difficulty: Easy
Serves: 6-8

Garlic cloves, medium (2)
Anchovy fillets , finely minced (about 2 teaspoons / 4 fillets) — or substitute Thai fish sauce to taste
Tomato paste (1 TBS)
Beef chuck roast, boneless, grass-fed (about 4 pounds)
Butter or expeller-pressed coconut oil (4 TBS) — where to buy coconut oil
Bacon, pastured and nitrate-free (4 oz)
Onion, large (1)
Carrots, medium (4)
Sprouted flour (1/4 cup) — where to buy sprouted flour
Red wine (2 cups)
Chicken or beef broth, homemade (2 cups)
Bay leaves (2)
Thyme, fresh or dried (4 sprigs)
Potatoes, russet, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces (1 lb)
Arrowroot powder (enough to thicken)
Water (1/2 cup)
Frozen peas , thawed (1 cup)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper — where to buy sea salt

Large heavy-bottom Dutch oven or stock pot (you can also do this in the crock pot — but brown the meat in a pan first)

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Mince or crush garlic cloves. Add garlic and anchovies to a bowl. Stir in tomato paste and set aside.
3. Pat meat dry with paper towels. Cut into bite-sized chunks, discarding any excess fat.
4. Heat 2 tablespoon butter or coconut oil in large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium heat. Add half of beef and cook until well browned on all sides. Transfer beef to large plate. Repeat with remaining beef and another 2 tablespoon butter or coconut oil, leaving second batch of meat in pot after browning.
5. Chop up the bacon into small pieces and set aside.
6. Thinly slice the onions.
7. Peel and cut the carrots into bite-sized pieces.
8. Return first batch of beef to pot. Add onion and carrots to Dutch oven and stir to combine with beef.
9. Cook, scraping bottom of pan to loosen any browned bits, until onion is softened, 1 to 2 minutes.
10. Add garlic/anchovy/tomato paste mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
11. Add sprouted flour and cook, stirring constantly, until no dry flour remains, about 30 seconds.
12. Slowly add wine, scraping bottom of pan to loosen any browned bits. Turn up heat to high and allow wine to simmer until thickened and slightly reduced, about 2 minutes.
13. Stir in broth, bay leaves, thyme, and bacon. Bring to simmer, cover, transfer to oven, and cook for 1 1/2 hours.
14. Remove pot from oven; remove and discard bay leaves.
15. Stir in potatoes, cover, return to oven, and cook until potatoes are almost tender, about 1 hour.
16. Remove Dutch oven from oven and set on burner set to medium. Stir in 1 teaspoon of arrowroot powder at a time until the stew is thickened.
17. Season with salt and pepper to taste; serve.


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