Recipe by Lennie
I discovered the "wee kick" a can of Rotel adds to stew just by accident, when I was making a beef stew but had no regular canned tomatoes on hand, but did have several tins of Rotel since I had stocked up on a trip to the U.S. (it's not sold here in Canada). It doesn't add a fiery kick, just a pleasant addition of some heat, making this stew a little different than most. But if you just want a great beef stew, by all means make this recipe without the Rotel. I'm sure you'll like it, with or without the canned tomatoes!
- 2 onions (peeled, halved, and thickly sliced)
- 2 cloves garlic (peeled and very thinly sliced)
- 2 carrots (scraped and cut into one-inch chunks)
- 2 celery ribs (halved lengthwise and cut into one-inch pieces)
- 8 large mushrooms (wiped clean and thickly sliced)
- 1⁄4 cup flour
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 2 lbs stewing beef, in large cubes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil (approximate measure)
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1⁄2 cup red wine (I use merlot)
- 1 (10 ounce) canrotel canned diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
- 2 teaspoons bouquet garni spice (see directions)
Directions See How It's Made
- You'll notice there is no salt in this recipe, other than that used in the flour mixture; I typically use canned beef stock and I find it salty enough.
- If you cannot find Rotel, use a can of Mexican stewed tomatoes (but it likely won't have the kick); if you don't want any hot-pepper flavour in your stew, use regular stewed tomatoes, or just leave them completely out.
- Canned stewed tomatoes are typically in larger tins than the Rotel, but the extra won't matter; don't worry about it.
- I use the Bouquet Garni spice from Penzeys for this, which is a spice blend containing savory, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, dill, marjoram, sage and tarragon; if you don't have a similar spice mix, I recommend using savory, rosemary and thyme to make up the two teaspoons.
- Okay, let's start the prep work.
- First, thickly slice the onions and place on a plate; on the side of the plate place the thinly sliced garlic cloves; set aside.
- Next, place the other vegetables in a bowl as you chop them, and set aside.
- Now you'll have to cube the beef, if you haven't bought it already cubed.
- In a clean plastic bag (check to make sure it has no holes), place the flour, salt, and pepper; shake the beef cubes in the flour mixture so each piece is lightly coated.
- Preheat oven to 300F.
- Now, the cooking starts: get out a large Dutch oven and put in on your burner over high heat; lightly coat the bottom with olive oil.
- Brown the beef cubes in the oil, removing them to a plate as they brown--you will likely have to do this in about 3 batches, depending on the size of your pot; add olive oil to the pot as needed.
- When all the beef has been browned, add the onions to the pot (adding some oil, if needed, to prevent them from burning or sticking) and let cook, stirring a bit, for about one minute; then add the garlic slices and stir them around for a minute.
- Reduce heat to medium and add about 1/2 cup of the beef stock and about half of the wine; let bubble, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to get up and dissolve all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan (where a lot of flavour lives; you want that in your stew, not on the bottom of the pot).
- Now add everything else to the pot, including of course the browned beef, stirring well to combine.
- Put the lid on the pot and place in the middle of the preheated oven and cook for a minimum of two hours (3 is even better); beef should be very tender.
- Check and stir once every hour; after two hours, taste the stew (be careful, it's very hot) and add a sprinkle of salt if you think it needs it.
- When done, you can serve as is, or thicken it on top of the stove with a little flour-water mixture if you wish; it all depends on your personal preference.