It is officially winter, and we are making a cold weather classic: Beef Stew! This recipe is a special one because I’m making it in honor of my Dad’s birthday, and a man who loves nothing more than a good, rich bowl of stew for dinner. This is a dish that warms your heart, spirit, and most importantly, stomach. A big bowl of beef stew is what I imagine getting a hug from food must feel like, and it’s exactly what you want on a cold evening for dinner. There’s lots of hearty beef that braises until it’s fall-apart tender, a rich gravy flavored with tomato paste, tons of garlic, and a generous amount of red wine, and then lots of winter vegetables, like sweet carrots, little pearl onions, and my personal favorite, potatoes. I flavor mine with thyme and rosemary, but parsley and bay leaf are also delicious here. This dish is a classic for a reason, and you’ll see that I’m not reinventing the wheel with my recipe. It’s a filling stew that will warm even the coldest of winter days!
1. Red Wine
The red wine adds a delicious layer of flavor to this dish. Make sure you use something dry and reduce it well to cook off the alcohol and concentrate the flavor. If you don’t want to use red wine for any reason, a few tablespoons of red wine vinegar will add similar acidity, along with more stock to make up for the extra liquid you’d get from the wine
2. Tomato Paste
Cooking your tomato paste is something that the average home cook may not do, but it makes a world of difference in its flavor. Don’t skip this step!
3. Customize the Veggies
You can add any vegetables you like to this dish! Large chunks of onion work in place of pearl, almost any kind of potato will be great, and other root vegetables like turnips or parsnips will be delicious, too!