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I know there are hundreds of recipes for Traditional Beef stew out there, but this is how my grandma used to make it, and I continue to make it the same way. Slow cooked on the stove in my large cast iron pot for about 2 hours, maybe a bit more if needed in a red wine and beef base with lots of herbs and fresh vegetables. Now having a garden we even used fresh peas. But always fresh vegetables and vegetable stock not broth seemed to make all the difference. Even the mushrooms we got from a local mushroom grower, but now a days you can get some great mushrooms from any of the local farmers market or the grocery store. I have 4 or 5 variations of stew that I make, but come back to this recipe every time. Up in MI, during the winter months we would have a big pot of stew and play Euchre (yuker) till all hours of the night. Since moving to FL, the first cold night of the year, we continued the stew and card tradition. Even after I got married, the tradition continued. Now single, I invite friends over and continue the tradition. The recipe has never changed.
- 2 lbs beef stew meat, cubed (not too small because they will get so tender they will fall apart)
- 10 medium size white pearl onions
- 2 shallots, diced fine
- 2 carrots, cut in 1-inch pieces (very large carrots you can also cut lengthwise first and then in 1-inch pieces if necessary)
- 2 celery ribs, cut in 1-inch pieces
- 1 small celery rib, dice fine
- celery leaves, chopped
- 1 parsnip, cut in 1-inch pieces
- 5 medium red potatoes, cut in half
- 1 1⁄2 cups cremini mushrooms, cut in half
- 1 1⁄2 cups peas (frozen are fine)
- 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes, I have used this a couple of times to try and it is ok, but I prefer it without (optional)
- 3 1⁄2 cups beef stock, keep a little extra on hand as you may need a little more to achieve the consistency you like (available right in your grocery store or homemade)
- 1 cup red wine (I like a cabernet)
- 1⁄2 cup flour (to dredge the beef)
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons kosher salt (to dredge the beef)
- 1 teaspoon pepper (to dredge the beef)
- 1 teaspoon paprika (to dredge the beef)
- 1⁄4 cup vegetable oil (NOT olive oil to saute the beef)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, as a garnish
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 large bay leaf
- Beef -- In a large baggie or bowl, add the flour, salt, pepper and paprika and shake or stir to mix. Add the meat until well dredged with the flour mixture. This flour mix will help to thicken the stew as it cooks. Then in a large dutch oven or your favorite large pot for the stove heat to medium high and add the oil. Brown the beef small batches at a time so you don't over crowd the dish. Do a few pieces at a time and remove to the side on a plate until you finish all the beef.
- Base Flavors -- In the same pot, add the butter, garlic, shallots and the 1 rib of diced celery. Stir well getting all the little bits off the bottom. Add the red wine to deglaze and continue to scrape the bottom to get all the bits up, then add the broth, bay leaf, dried parsley, rosemary, basil, thyme, worcestershire sauce, and the beef back in to the pot. Cover and cook 30-40 minutes on medium low heat.
- Vegetables -- Remove the cover stir once and add the carrots, parsnips, celery, onions, potatoes, mushrooms, and celery leaves. If you need a little bit more liquid, you can add a little more broth if you want. At this time, also check for salt and pepper. Cover and cook until vegetables are tender. It should take about 1-1 1/2 hours. Just cook on medium low to low heat - a nice low simmer.
- Finishing -- Before serving, I again check for any last minute seasoning and add in the peas and fresh parsley. The peas just take 2 minutes to heat up. Then if you like your stew a little thicker you can add a little slurry of corn starch (just a teaspoon) and some of the broth and add it to the broth, stir and it will thicken right up. But it should be just about right.
- Serve -- Big bowls with crusty bread a side salad and enjoy!