One of my favorite ways to cook is using One Pot Wonders recipes. One Pot Wonder are dishes that you kind of throw everything in the pot, let it cook, and then it’s done! I thought I would share with you one of my favorite “one pot wonders” that is just perfect for this time of year!
Snowy and cold and a one pot wonders, a match made in heaven.
You’re probably thinking of a slow cooker? Right? Nope. Slow cookers are good for many recipes, but not for any that “meat” browning is essential, unless you want to do in another pan. My favorite pan to use for one pot wonders is a Dutch oven (a.k.a stockpot, round oven, French oven, or casserole) is a kitchen essential.
What’s also great about Dutch ovens is that they are versatile, they can go on the stove top to sear foods and then into the oven to finish cooking. Their tall sides also make them useful for deep-frying.
Let’s get one thing out of the way, Le Creuset is the best. So what, you can still achieve a great stew without one. Walmart even carries Dutch ovens. So don’t let budget stop you.
Beef Stew! Beef Stew is a classic, cold weather comfort food.
Tips for a successful Classic Beef Stew
1) The best beef stew uses a chuck steak/roast.
2) Browning the meat is essential.
3) Do not buy pre-cut stew meat, it’s made up of irregular shaped end pieces from different muscles that cannot be SOLD as steaks or roasts. This meat would NOT be consistent in the way it cooks or taste. Buy a chuck steak/roast and cut your own, it’s also cheaper.
4) If you do not have “homemade” beef stock, use Chicken stock instead.
5) Save a step, don’t dredge your meat before browning in flour, add flour after browning. Also saves time.
What? Chicken stock for beef stew, why yes! Using water makes your beef stew bland, non-homemade beef stock is not a good choice. They just don’t taste good, and adds another layer of “heavy” beef flavor. Use less salt chicken stock or your own homemade.
I know what your thinking, it’s so time consuming to not use a slow cooker! The prep time is the same for both methods, except the ONLY difference is browning the meat (hold head down if you don’t) which took me only 20 minutes longer.
TIP: Brown your meat and onions the night before when you cook that nights dinner. If you have time chop the vegetables up too. Tuck in refrigerator. Many times I cook a meal and prep the next night’s meal at same time or make up to 5 days in advance.
Classic Beef Stew
Serves 6 to 8
Tip: You can prepare through step 3, store in airtight container, and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Spoon off any hardened fat from top, bring stew back to a simmer in your covered pan you used and proceed with step 4.
Tip: Look for a red wine that is dry, you don’t want to add a sweet taste to the stew. Merlot adds a grape jelly taste and avoid wines that have been “oaked” which adds a bitter taste.
3 pds chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2″ cubes
Salt and fresh ground pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions chopped coarse
3 medium garlic cloves, minced or garlic pressed
3 tbsp all-purpose flour, or GF flour
1 cup dry red wine, NEVER use cooking wines in grocery stores, bad, real bad. I didn’t have any red on hand so I used dried sherry.
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme
1 pound red potatoes (3 medium) into 1 inch cubes (I’ve also use white, but white doesn’t hold its shape like red)
4 large carrots, peeled and slice 1/4 inch thick. (I hate peeling and cutting carrots, I buy baby carrots in 5 pounds and always use these in my recipes)
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cups fresh parsley leaves, minced
1) Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 300 degrees. Dry meat thoroughly, season generously with salt/pepper. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large ovenproof dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half of the meat to the pot, pieces not touching, cook, not moving the pieces until the sides touching the pot are well browned, about 3 minutes. Turn the pieces over and cook 5 minutes more. Transfer to a bowl, add another tbsp of oil to pot swirling to coat and brown remaining beef.
2) Reduced heat to medium and add the remaining tbsp of oil, add the onions and 1/4 tsp of salt. Cook stirring while scraping the bottom of pan and edges of the pot with a wooden spoon until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 3o seconds. Stir in flour and cook until lightly colored, about 2 minutes. Add the wine, scraping up the bits on bottom and stir until liquid is thick. Gradually add the broth while stirring constantly to dissolve the flour. Add the bay leaves and thyme and bring to a simmer. Add the meat and return to simmer again. Cover and place in the oven for 1 hour.
3) Remove pot after one hour and add the potatoes and carrots. Cover and return to oven and for 1 hour more.
4) Remove pot from oven and add the peas, cover and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir in parsley, discard bay leaves, adjust seasoning if needed.