100% All-Beef Stew

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Does anyone else think it’s funny that McDonald’s still advertises it’s burgers to be made with 100% all-beef patties? Like they should get a prize? Well done Mickey-D’s! You could have just stopped at 95%, which we all know is well within A-range, but instead you went above and beyond and went for the FULL 100% of what really should be the only ingredient in any burger. Just wondering, what percentage of your burger patty would you, the American consumer, be okay with not being beef? 2%? 0.05%? What would that 0.05% even be if not beef? If it’s rat feces then no thank you.

Let’s be real though, I’m pretty sure 0.05% of everything we ingest is probably rat feces. Just saying. Also, I like McDonald’s. Really. Give me a Big Mac and I’m a happy man. Also also, should we be worried about the fast food chains that DON’T advertise their burgers to be 100% all beef?

Anyway, here’s a recipe for beef stew:

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I splurged and bought a beautiful grass-fed chuck roast the other day and decided I was going to make one of my favorite winter foods: stew. Nothing is better on a freezing day then a bowl of beef, potatoes, and carrots, in a savory gravy with crusty bread on the side. NOTHING.

Couple things: This is the first time I’ve tried making beef stew starting with a full chuck roast, rather than buying already cut up stew meat. This is also the first time using grass fed for beef stew. I am being honest here: IT TOTALLY MAKES A DIFFERENCE. Buying the chuck whole and cutting it myself not only let me control how big I wanted the chunks to be (they’re usually too big for my taste when you buy stew meat already cut up), but it allowed me to keep as much or as little of the fat on the meat as I wanted, and it also let me cook the meat as soon as it was cut, instead of letting it sit out for who knows how long, with tons more surface area to dry out and collect microbes. Also grass fed really does taste better and is better for you. Check it out.

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It’s so beautiful.

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This is all you need to start. Don’t forget that bacon. You have been warned.

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Brown the bacon, leave the fat. If there’s too much fat leftover, spoon some out but leave about 2 tablespoons. Yes there’s one full piece of bacon in there that was just for me. Get off my back. Oh and I hope this goes without saying, but don’t throw away those bacon bits. Reserve for later.

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LISTEN TO ME. BROWN YOUR BEEF IN BATCHES, IN A SINGLE LAYER. In this 5 qt dutch oven I was able to brown them all in 2 batches. If you don’t do this, it won’t brown, and if it doesn’t brown, then you might as well just give it to your dog. This is serious, folks. Once all the meat is browned, set aside with your bacon.

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Here’s where it starts to get a little tricky. Saute your onions and garlic in all the leftover fat (again remove some of it’s excessive, leaving about 3-4 tbsp).

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Once the onions are shiny and starting to turn translucent, add your tomato paste. Let that brown for about 5 minutes, mixing with the onions.

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Add your flour. I know, there’s a lot, but we’re also adding a lot of liquid, so it’ll thicken it all up. If you like a runnier stew, you can use less flour, but I wouldn’t go less than 3 tbsp. Let the flour mix with the fat and tomato paste, letting it continue to brown. There will probably be some burned bits at the bottom of your pot but it’s okay. Just keep everything moving.

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Add your wine. I just used a red table wine. You can use any dry red wine you like, but the rule of thumb is use a wine you would actually drink. Mix it all together and try to dissolve as much of the flour as you can. FYI: It’ll get pretty sludgy.

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Add your beef broth and mix to dilute the sludgy red wine, then return the beef and bacon back to the pot.

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Add a few dashes of this.

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Add a tablespoon of that (this is my secret guys, you’re welcome).

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And last but not least, your bouquet. I also threw in 2 bay leaves but I forgot to take a picture of it. Cover it with a tight-fitting lid, then throw it into your oven for 1 hour 15 minutes at 300 degrees.

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It’s gonna come out looking reduced and smelling like delicious. This is when you add your carrots and potatoes, so they don’t overcook and dissolve into your stew. Add a little water if needed to make sure everything’s submerged. Cover, and throw back into the oven for another 45 minutes, or until the veggies are tender. When it’s done, remove your thyme sprigs and bay leaves, and serve it up!

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INGREDIENTS:

2 lbs beef chuck roast, cut into 1″ cubes
4 slices of good quality bacon, sliced
1 medium onion, diced small
4 cloves garlic, minced
32 oz beef stock
1/3 cup flour
1/2 bottle of good dry red wine (about 2 cups), I used a malbec
3 medium potatoes, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
4 medium carrots, sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 tbsp tomato paste
5 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
5 sprigs thyme, tied together with butcher’s twine
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Season beef liberally with salt and pepper. Let sit.

Heat a large dutch oven (5 qt) with the olive oil over medium-high heat, brown the bacon, rendering the fat out. When the bacon is browned, remove it from the heat and reserve in a large bowl for later. Remove some of the fat but leave about 2 tbsp in the dutch oven.

Brown the seasoned beef in the remaining fat IN BATCHES (keeping beef in a single layer each batch). Remove the beef and set aside with the bacon.

Again, if there is a lot of fat left in the pot, remove some of the fat so about 4 tbsp remain, then add your onion and garlic and sautee until the onion starts to become translucent, about 7 minutes.

Add tomato paste and brown for another 5 minutes.

Add the flour and brown that for yet another 5 minutes.

Add the wine and stir, letting it incorporate with the flour and tomato paste, until it reduces slightly and thickens up to a sludgy consistency.

Add all of the beef stock and stir so the whole mixture dilutes.

Return the beef and bacon back to the pot along with any juices that collected in the bowl. Add worcestershire sauce and soy sauce, throw in your thyme and bay leaves, give it a stir, and cover the dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid. Put the entire thing in the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

After 1 hour 15 min, throw in your potatoes and carrots, adding some water if necessary so everything is covered with liquid. then throw back into the oven for another 45 minutes.

Remove bay leaves and thyme. Serve with crusty bread. Enjoy your 100% beef stew!

Beer Pairing Recommendation: Anchor Steam Christmas Ale. Not sure what style this year’s beer is, but I think the flavors they tend to put into their seasonal will match the deep, earthy flavors of this stew.

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