Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours, 30 minutes
- 1 lb. chuck roast or beef shoulder; cut into 1 1/2" cubes
- 2 oz. salt pork (or 4 strips thick bacon); cut into 1/4" cubes*
- Salt and pepper
- 1 md. onion; finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 lg. carrot; finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 md. cloves garlic; finely chopped
- 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cup red wine; Shiraz or zinfandel; divided
- 1 Tbsp. soy sauce**
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 Tbsp. instant tapioca; finely ground
- 1 cup homemade beef or chicken broth or canned chicken broth***
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme; divided
- 11/2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 lb. pearl onions (frozen onions work); peeled****
- 1/4 lb. small button mushrooms (or larger mushrooms, quartered)
1. Heat oven to 250F.
2. Render salt pork in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.
3. Increase heat to medium high.
4. Generously season beef with salt and pepper. Thoroughly brown beef in two or three batches, setting browned meat aside on a plate.
5. Reduce heat to medium and add chopped onions and carrots. Cook until browned.
6. Stir in 2 teaspoons of the thyme, the garlic and the tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
7. Increase heat to high and add 1 cup wine. Deglaze pot, reducing wine by half then add soy sauce, bay leaves, 1 1/2 cups of wine and stir in ground tapioca.
8. Add beef, salt pork (or bacon) and enough broth to just cover the meat. Bring just to a boil.
9. Cover pot and place in center of oven. Cook for 4 hours, stirring once an hour. Add additional broth as needed.
10. In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan heated to medium. Add onions (no need to thaw if frozen), and brown all over. Add mushrooms and brown them.
11. Add remaining wine, deglaze pan, cover and simmer for five minutes. Stir into pot with meat.
12. Remove bay leaves and serve over roasted potatoes (I particularly like roasted baby potatoes, slightly smashed), noodles, mashed potatoes or some other starch.
*Note 1: most American recipes call for bacon to produce the fat for browning the beef, but American bacon is smoked and flavored in other ways. My preference is to render salt pork which provides a much simpler (and less distracting) flavor component.
**Note 2: Soy sauce kicks in some umami taste in concert with the tomato paste deepening the flavor without changing it.
***Note 3. Canned beef broth is universally bad (although Better than Bouillon concentrate is edible - albeit very high in salt).
***Note 4. To peel the onions, trim off the top 1/4-inch of the stem end, then blanch in boiling water for three minutes. Drain, cool and peel.
Wondering why your stew is too chewey? Check out these tips on perfect soups, stews, and braises.[