Low and slow is one of the buzz words in modern cooking. Aga mastered / created this technique around 1922. Good to be ahead of the curve, way ahead. This is a pretty simple, straight ahead recipe with plenty of room to experiment.
Look for thick chuck roast in your meat department and cube them up yourself. The chuck, cut from the shoulder, has a variety of different muscles running thru it. This will make for an interesting blend of textures and flavors. Remove any visible fat and try to separate along any natural seams.
When you marinate the beef look for a light fruity young wine. The acids in the wine will help break down fatty tissues and penetrate the protein.
Use whatever root vegetables you have on hand. Cut them large enough so you can remove them from the marinade and uniform so they cook together. I like carrots, turnips, celery and onions. Parsnips and fennel also play well together.
Basic Beef Stew Technique
- 3 lbs stewing beef in 1 inch cubes
- 1 bottle young red wine
- 4 cups assorted root vegetables cut in uniform shapes
- 2 garlic cloves, fresh herbs, juniper berries and bay leaf
- 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes or good tomato sauce
Marinate the beef overnite with all the ingredients except the tomato product.
Put your large sauté pan for browning the beef in the Roasting Oven to preheat while you accomplish these other tasks.
Drain marinade and reserve.
Reduce marinade by 75%. I do this by bringing it to a boil in flat bottomed pan and into the Roasting Oven on the floor. It should be reduced by the time you finish the other tasks.
Separate the vegetables from the beef and reserve. Dry off beef.
Brown the beef in a large skillet (nicely preheated) on the Boil Plate. Add a pinch of salt. Do this in batches to avoid over crowding. Overcrowding will cause the pan to cool down and the meat to give up too much liquid that cannot be evaporated immediately. This will cause the meat to simmer, not brown. Overcrowding a pan is bad technique. Put the browned beef in your favorite casserole dish with a nice fitting lid. Mine is a big bad Le Creuset. I bought it instead of going on vacation one year. Another Drunk & Disorderly charge at Disney World or a shiny new red Le Creuset? I chose wisely.
Deglaze the pan with the marinade reduction. Add this to the beef. Did I forget to tell you to strain the reduction? Well you should.
Add the tomato product. Bring all of this to a simmer on the Boiling Plate. Into the Simmer Oven for 2 hours. Check after two hours. It should still need some time
Sauté the reserved vegetables. After the first two hoursof cooking add them to the beef. Back in the Simmer Oven for another hour or so.
Remove from oven and check for doneness and seasoning. You can finish your dish with basil & marjoram or other herb combos. Maybe some red pepper flakes for a spot of heat. Go Hungarian on it and add sour cream. From here it's your call.
Thanks for reading to the bottom, enjoy! There's a little bonus info below the picture for being such a deligent reader!
This is my pan after I browned three batches of beef for my stew. The residue sticking to the pan is called the "fond" as in foundation. I pour my marinade into this pan and use the liquid to loosen all those bits of flavors and have added another layer of flavor. Now your cooking with gas!