Beef stew is comfort food at its finest. The ordinary ingredients meld together into a satisfying, savory meal. The types of vegetables and herbs can be altered, resulting in endless variations of this classic recipe. You can also substitute venison for the beef. The following recipe serves 4; if you’re expecting more people, the ingredients can be doubled, tripled, etc. so everyone can enjoy a bit of good ole, down-home cooking.
6 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1/2 cup flour
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 onion, peeled and diced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 cup carrots, peeled and sliced
1 cup celery, sliced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 cup red or white wine
4 cups beef broth
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried herbs (oregano, thyme, savory, etc.)
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and diced
A few sprigs of fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper, as needed
Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
Combine flour and pepper in a small bowl. Dredge the meat in the flour/pepper mixture. Sear a little meat at a time in the hot oil, turning the pieces until meat is browned on all sides; remove meat from pot. Add more oil as needed between each batch of meat.
In the same pot, sauté the onions, garlic, carrots and celery on medium-high heat. Remove vegetables from pot.
Deglaze the pot with red wine vinegar and wine, scraping bottom of pot with a spatula. Add beef broth, bay leaves and herbs. Add the meat and the vegetables to the pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about an hour-and-a-half, stirring often, until the meat is fork-tender. Add the potatoes; cover and simmer about 30 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Add parsley and season with salt and pepper, as needed. Ladle into bowls and serve. Tip: Serve with warm, crusty bread and butter.