It’s no secret to anyone in my family that I use cooking as an escape. If I’ve had a stressful day, or I just want to tune out the world for awhile, I crank up the music on Alexa and proceed to dice, sear, blend, whip, or pipe icing. My side-kicks change over the years — friends, family, and occasionally even students have found their way to the big island in my kitchen. Yesterday was the first day I truly got into my kitchen in a week, and after spaghetti, French bread, and strawberry pie, my family put on a movie and actually managed to feel normal for a bit. And I sincerely hope you can find a bit of that for your family and friends, too.
So this is actually one from the archives — not something I made this weekend. But it is Sunday, and one of the students who helped me move this site to WordPress told me I was too dessert heavy 😉 Here’s to modeling a good response to constructive criticism!
I’ve made a version of this for years and it is high on the list of family favorites, especially for my teenager. The recipe is based on Pioneer Woman’s Sunday Night Stew. As far as tips and tricks, salt and taste as you go, and commit to searing the beef in the browning step — go for dark brown, not gray.
- 3-4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 2 pounds Chuck Roast, cut into cubes (or beef stew meat)
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 oz. tomato paste
- 4 cups beef stock
- 1-2 tsp. Worcestershire
- 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 4 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 turnips, peeled and diced
- 2 Tablespoons flour
- 2 Tablespoons butter (take this out at the beginning — you won’t use it until the end but it needs to be room temperature)
Cut the roast into 2 inch cubes. Sprinkle the meat with 1 tsp of salt.
Heat half of the olive oil and butter over high heat in a thick-bottomed pot (cast iron or enamel-coated cast iron works great; I use my Le Creuset Dutch oven).
Brown the meat in two small batches, about 2 minutes on each side. Avoid crowding the pan , which reduces browning. (You may need to do more batches, depending on the size of your pan). Remove the browned meat to a plate.
Add the diced onion and a little more salt to the oil/butter in the pot and saute until the onions soft and translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add tomato paste, stirring well, and cook for an additional two minutes.
Slowly add 4 cups of beef stock, stirring constantly. Add the Worcestershire and the sugar and salt and pepper to taste (this will vary depending on how salty your stock is. Taste frequently!) Then add the browned beef back to the pot. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for about 2 hours.
After 2 hours, add the carrots and turnips to the pot. Stir to combine, put the lid on the pot, and cook on low for 30-45 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
If you like a thicker stew, next make a beurre manie by combining 2 tablespoons room-temperature butter and 2 tablespoons flour in a small bowl, using a fork, spoon, or your fingers. Turn up the heat on the stew and whisk in the beurre manie, about 1 teaspoon at a time, until the stew is as thick as you desire.
The original recipe recommended serving this over mashed potatoes, but we love it over grits or egg noodles, too (or by itself, for my kids).
As far as substitutions… let’s see… you could do potatoes instead of turnips (although if you can find turnips, they are amazing in this… and this is coming from someone who did not knowingly eat a turnip until age 35). For the meat, since you are going for a long, slow braise, higher fat content will help your meat stay tender. Chuck roast is our favorite. If you try it with another cut, let us know how it turns out in the comments.
Enjoy your Sunday, and good luck bringing comfort to your loved ones during this stressful time.