The scent of this hearty stew simmering away on my stove brought back a wealth of fond childhood memories. This was one of my favourite “fancy” dinners growing up, and I was always incredibly excited when my mom would make it.
I have stayed fairly true to the original recipe, with just a few tweaks to the preparation, and I’ve essentially doubled the quantities of everything. My Better Half eats an astonishing quantity of food, so I wanted a ton of leftovers. It doubled beautifully, and my larger recipe would be fantastic for feeding a crowd (or two hungry adults, with lots left for lunches for a day or two!).
As the beef simmers, it becomes incredibly tender and absorbs all the lovely flavours of the red wine and garlic. You add the carrots only for the last few minutes of cooking, because that way they retain a nice colour and texture rather than becoming gloppy mush. At the very end, after thickening the broth with a bit of flour dissolved in more red wine, you stir in a mixture of tomato paste, parmesan cheese, and herbs. This addition really makes the whole dish for me: the meaty, winey base takes on a slightly sweet tomato flavour, becoming reminiscent of a really fantastic bolognese sauce.
I served this stew with white rice for the simple reason that it’s the way my mom always served it to our family. However, basically anything starchy would be a perfect vessel for this hearty dish. For instance, pasta/noodles, potatoes, polenta, or even just a hunk of crusty bread would do nicely.
As I was photographing the finished product, I would have loved to have something fresh and green to sprinkle on top, such as a sprig of rosemary or fresh chopped parsley. Alas, I had neither of those things on hand, but do feel free to add something of that nature if you like; it’s not necessary, but would certainly make a nice presentation.
Leftovers are delicious and will keep, covered and refrigerated, for 2-3 days.
- 2 tablespoons oil (I used canola, olive oil is fine too)
- 2 and ½ lbs. stewing beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups low-sodium beef stock (homemade or store-bought)
- 1 cup red wine, divided (1/2-cup and ½-cup)
- 4 cups sliced carrots
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 and ½ teaspoons dried basil
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- White rice, for serving (optional)
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large stock pot. Add beef and brown well (in batches if necessary - mine took 2 batches). Transfer browned beef to a bowl and set aside.
- Add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to pot and add onion, cooking until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 more minute. Add ½ cup red wine to pan and scrape any brown bits that are clinging to the bottom. Add 3 cups beef stock and bring to a simmer. Transfer beef back to pot. Reduce heat and simmer covered 1 and ½ hours.
- Add carrots and simmer mixture until carrots are tender, about 10 minutes.
- Make the tomato paste mixture: In a small bowl, mix together tomato paste, basil, parmesan cheese, garlic powder and cayenne. Set aside.
- Mix 2 tablespoons flour with remaining ½ cup red wine. Add red wine mixture to stew, mix well, and cook until stew thickens. Once thick, stir in tomato paste mixture. Simmer 5 more minutes.
- Serve hot over rice or other starch. Leftovers will keep for 2-3 days covered in the refrigerator.
Source: My mom got this recipe from an old (older than me!) Best of Bridge cookbook; I have only a scrap of paper with the recipe scribbled on it, and I’ve adapted it slightly.