To begin, purchase a high quality chuck roast from your local supermarket. I get mine from whole foods. Sure, it is more expensive, but the quality is much much better. They way I justify this is if I can get 5 or 6 meals out of this recipe, my food cost is quite low in fact, for a preparation like this.
Unwrap your meat and prepare your pan with a few tablespoons of olive oil, making sure the pan is big enough to fit the roast comfortable with room on the sides. If it is too small for the pan, it will start to steam the meat instead of caramelize, and this will compromise flavor. There are several trains of thought on seasoning. I don’t season my meat before I sear as the salt pulls moisture out, thus preventing a better sear.
After searing the meat, turn your heat to medium high, and saute your mirepoix (carrot, celery, onion) and mushrooms to the pan. You’ll want to cook these for about 5-7 minutes, until they get nice and brown.
After your vegetables caramelize, season them with salt, and pepper if you like. With heat on medium/high, add garlic, and saute for another two minutes. Then, tomato paste, for two more minutes. Add your all purpose flour, then cook for at least two minutes. The flour is going to thicken the stew, but you don’t want any sort of raw flour flavor in you finished product, so cooking it before you add your liquid is very important.
Add your wine. Bring this mixture up to a fast simmer to cook out some of that harsh alcohol, and reduce the wine a little bit. I’m using a Cabernet Sauvignon, which stands up nicely to red meat. I’d use a heavier dry red if you are able.
Don’t worry too much if you can smell some alcohol evaporating, as this dish is going to simmer for a long time and this will eventually cook out during that process.
Now, add your three cups of stock. I’m using a chicken broth that is very tasty, beef broth will be just as good. I have also added a 14.5oz can of diced tomatoes. You can add whole chopped tomatoes if you have some nice ripe ones. With the stock, it is important to purchase no or low sodium versions. While the pot simmers, the liquid will get saltier and saltier and if it is perfectly seasoned before the meat if finished simmering, you’re going to have a salty sauce, and that would be a big letdown, especially after all of this work.
Now that you have added everything, bring the mixture up to a boil, and then very low heat. You’re looking for a slow bubble. You will want this to braise for at least three hours. Anything less than that and you won’t get a tender piece of meat. If it cook long enough it should almost fall apart with a fork. If you wanted to add potatoes, add them about 30 minutes before you’re going to pull the meat off the heat so they don’t overcook. Taste the sauce and adjust for seasoning. With my roast weighing a little over 2-1/2 lb and having added a couple of potatoes, I have gotten at least six meals out of this recipe. Although it cost me a little extra to purchase high quality meat, it is no problem for me with that in mind. Garnish with parsley, if ya like.
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