When the weather starts to turn a little chilly, I can't wait to make a giant pot of beef stew. I portion it up and freeze some for my wife to warm up and feed our little one on busy weeknights or when I'm traveling. It's the perfect make-ahead comfort food for chilly fall suppers!
Technique tip: Sear your beef cubes until they are super dark and make sure you toast the tomato paste really well before adding your liquids; the extra color and roast on the meat and tomato will give you the deepest beef stew flavor ever with very little effort. Adding the splash of vinegar at the end of cooking brightens and balances the flavors of the stew.
Swap option: Try adding frozen peas in the last 10 minutes of cooking for an extra color pop and some sweetness. If you don't' have a Dutch oven, you can do the whole thing in a pot on the stovetop and then transfer the stew to your slow cooker after you add the stock and wine. Then just cook it on high for 3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.2.
Heat the Dutch oven on high heat until super hot. While the pot is heating, toss the cubed meat in the flour, salt and pepper in a large bowl. In two batches, brown the floured meat cubes in the hot pan, using 2-3 tablespoons of oil per batch. Be sure to get really good color on the meat before stirring and removing from the pan.3.
When all the meat has been browned, drain the oil, return the meat to the pot and add the tomato paste. Cook over medium-high heat until the tomato paste has thickened up and started to toast. Add the entire bottle of wine, beef stock, diced onion, mushrooms, celery and garlic and stir well. Be sure to use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape all that yummy goodness from the bottom of the pan once your liquids are in (that's where all the deep beefy flavors live!).4.
Tie the thyme and parsley stems in a tight bouquet with thread or non-waxed string and tie it securely. Throw it in the stew and stir it in along with the bay leaf. Bring the stew to a simmer and cover with the lid. Put the Dutch oven into the preheated oven and bake it for 1½ hours (if using a slow cooker, transfer the stew to into it now and set it for 3 hours).5.
After 1½ hours, carefully take the Dutch oven out and give it a stir. Add the baby potatoes, pearl onions and baby carrots, stir them in and put the lid back on. Return the Dutch oven to bake for 1 more hour, or until the potatoes are soft.6.
Once your potatoes are nice and soft, take the stew out of the oven and stir in the apple cider vinegar. Remove the herb bouquet and bay leaf, top with the chopped parsley and enjoy!