Beef Stew

Adapted from The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook by Kramis & Hearne

2 lbs beef stew meat (NOT lean, unless you are going to cook this for about 4 hours)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4-5 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
8 oz. mushrooms, quartered (optional)
1 yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, halved lengthwise & sliced 1/4″ thick
2 large carrtots, peeled and cut diagonally into 2″-thick slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cans (14.5 oz ea) crushed tomatoes, with their juice
1 cup full-bodied red wine (such as cabernet sauvignon)
1  1/2 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 to 1/2 cup pitted green olives

Season the meat with salt & pepper. Heat 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil in a deep 12″ cast iron skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Working in 3 or 4 batches, add the beef to the pan and brown on all sides (about 5 minutes). Transfer the browned beef to a plate , add another Tablespoon of oil to the pan and brown the next batch. Work quickly between batches so the meat bits in the pan don’t blacken.

Reduce heat to medium and add 1 Tablespoon oil to the pan.  Add the mushrooms, onions, celery, carrots, garlic and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Return the beef to the pan and stir in the tomatoes and their liquid, wine, water and bay leaves. Bring to a light boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 1 hour.

Add the Worcestershire sauce and olives (optional) and cook, covered, for another 20 to 30 minutes.  Remove the bay leaves.

Serve over noodles, mashed potatoes, or polenta.

Published in: on January 17, 2011 at 6:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

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