This past weekend on my hike the smell of fall was in the air. We were all sweating like it was the middle of the summer but the dampness in the forest combined with the start of the leaves changing let off the start of the “fall smell” that I missed so greatly when I was in FL my freshman year of college. This is such a beautiful time in New England, and though I don’t want to wish away the summer I’m not sad that fall is knocking at our doors. To celebrate the long weekend, the start of football season, and the ending of summer I decided a stew was needed for dinner. So while the boyfriend and I were stuck in traffic I went through tons of websites trying to find the perfect recipe, yet none combined everything that I wanted so I found one that was close enough and adapted it to fit what I was thinking. The end result was a thick and hearty stew that melted when you ate it with a great depth of flavor. The house smelled phenomenal as well as it started to come together, it was definitely a great Sunday dish!
- 2 TB Butter
- 2 TB Olive Oil
- 1 TB Flour
- 2 Pounds of Chuck
- 2 Large Potatoes
- 4 Cloves of Garlic
- 10 Large Button Mushrooms
- 1 Bottle of Red Wine
- 2 Cups of Beef Broth
- 1 Pound of Carrots
- 8 Slices of Bacon
- 1 Chili Pepper
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 Tsp Thyme
- ½ Tsp Sugar
- Salt and Pepper
Start off by preheating the oven to 350 degrees and setting the oven rack to the center of the oven. Then put butter and 1 TB of the olive oil in a large oven safe pot and melt over high heat. This goes quickly so have your chuck pre cut into large chunks, they don’t need to be bite size as they will be so tender they fall apart when everything is done. Once the butter and oil is hot salt and pepper the chuck and add it to the pot searing the meat for about 4 minutes on each side.
While it is searing chop the garlic into smallish chunks, don’t mince though and slice the potatoes into large chunks, potatoes can be like meat and be large than bite size as these will cook all the way through as well.
Once seared turn down heat slightly and add garlic and potatoes to the pot stirring frequently for about 5 minutes. Add flour and stir to completely cover the potatoes and meat then add wine, bay leaves, thyme and some salt and pepper and bring to a rolling boil.
While this is heating up wash and cut mushrooms into large chunks. Stir to make sure nothing is stuck on the bottom plus to deglaze the pan and then add mushrooms. Add the beef broth and put into the oven for 2 hours.
While the stew is cooking take the bacon and in a small sauce pan cover with two cups of water and bring to a rolling boil, then turn down and simmer for 30 minutes. While bacon is simmering peel and slice into large circles the carrots and then de-seed and chop the chili pepper. In a large sauté pan put ¼ cup water, sugar, some salt and pepper, and 1 TB of olive oil. Then add carrots and wait for bacon to finish boiling.
Once the 30 minutes has passed drain and chop up bacon into smallish chunks and add to the carrots in the pan. Then bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer, cover for 15 minutes and let simmer while carrots tenderize and water evaporates. After the 15 minutes turn the heat up and cook until bacon starts to crisp and carrots start to nicely brown. Don’t worry about stuff sticking to the pan at first once the pan gets searing hot it will come off.
Put vegetable mixture aside until stew is ready. Keep an eye on the stew and if the broth starts to get too low add some more beef stock. Once the two hours are up remove from oven and remove the bay leaves. Stir in the vegetable mixture and serve in large bowls with some crusty bread for dipping.