Melt In Yo’ Mouth Beef Stew

Basically, when it comes to stewing, what you’re doing is building layers. (Ogres are layered, like onions — ahem, shrek reference.) You brown the meat. You cook the veggies. You add the meat back. Add the soupy sauce. Let it stew and thicken. Then freshen it up again at the end with some jazzy jazz pizzazz, i.e. lemon, parsley, etc. Don’t feel bad if you’re missing some ingredients. I won’t tell.

Some basic tips:

1. Get a tough, lean meat — i.e chuck — which has tons of collagen that break down and make the meat more tender. It’s cheap and will taste “nom”. More tender (and expensive) cuts are lame because their marbled fat just melts away into the pot, causing them to turn tough anyway.

2. Make sure the meat is browned before the party in the pot starts.

3. Have wine ready for deglazing (and for your “I’m making a stew!” experience).

4. Give it at least 1.5 hours for the meat to tenderize and for the flavors to come together.

5. Hardest part: Let the stew sit for a minimum of an hour, but overnight is ideal — again so that the flavors have time to mingle and develop.

The meat in this comes out so amazingly tender, you’ll feel like a tiger biting into a gazelle

Melt In Yo Mouth Beef Stew (Adapted from Emeril’s recipe)

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Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
3 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound mushrooms, quartered
2 cups roughly chopped yellow onions
2 cups sliced carrots, (1-inch slices cut crosswise on a diagonal)
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon roughly chopped garlic
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Red wine for deglazing
4 1/2 cups beef stock, at room temperature
4 tablespoons tomato paste (I used sauce)
2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional for sweetness)
2 sprig fresh thyme
2 sprig fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups 1-inch diced potatoes
1/4 cup red wine (optional)
1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
1 cup green peas
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons lemon juice (optional)

Rice, bread, flat noodles, or extra veggies for serving

Procedure

Set a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the pot and season the beef with the salt, pepper and spices. Add 1/3 of the beef to the pot and cook until browned on all sides, around 3 minutes per side. Remove the beef from the pot and set aside. Add more olive oil, repeat until all meat is cooked.

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Add the butter and mushrooms to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, about 4-5 minutes.

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Add the onions and saute until softened and lightly caramelized, about 3 minutes. Add in celery and carrots. Make a hole and add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with wine, otherwise you’ll get a lot of burny stuff to clean up later.

Add the stock, tomato paste/sauce, fresh herbs, cinnamon and browned beef (and optional maple syrup) and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, partially cover the pot, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender, about 1 hour.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Add the potatoes to the stew and partially cover the pot with a lid. Continue cooking until the potatoes are very tender, about 30 minutes. You can also add more wine for flavor, plus the Worcestershire sauce.

Add the peas, lemon juice, and parsley to the stew, stir well to combine, then remove from the heat. Serve hot, with either steamed white rice or buttered egg noodles.

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