Perfect for cold, rainy, days, this full-bodied beef stew will bring the crowd running when you lift the lid. First, pieces of chuck are browned to develop their flavor, then they’re braised in a red wine beef broth. Adding the root vegetables toward the end of cooking keeps their character and color bright.
Winter Beef Stew
For braised beef:
• 5 pounds boneless Summit Creek beef chuck, cut into 2-inch pieces
• Flour, for dredging
• Salt and pepper
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 3 carrots, quartered
• 3 celery ribs, quartered
• 2 medium onions, quartered
• 1 head garlic, halved crosswise
• 3 tablespoons tomato paste
• 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
• 1 (750-ml) bottle dry red wine (about 3 3/4 cups)
• 1 California bay leaf
• 2 rosemary sprigs
• 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
• 3 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
• 3 cups water
For root veggies:
• 2 1/2 pounds small white boiling potatoes
• 3/4 pound parsnips
• 3/4 pound carrots
• 1/2 pound shallots
• 1/4 pound dried shiitake mushrooms
• Equipment: a wide 6-to 8-quart heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid
• Accompaniment: crusty bread
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
Pat beef dry, dredge with flour, and season with 2 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.
Heat oil in pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then brown meat, without crowding, in 3 batches, turning, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer to a platter.
Reduce heat to medium, then add carrots, celery, onions, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, about 12 minutes.
Push vegetables to one side of pot. Add tomato paste to cleared area and cook paste, stirring, 2 minutes, then stir into vegetables.
Add vinegar and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.
Stir in wine, bay leaves, and rosemary and boil until wine is reduced by about two thirds, 10 to 12 minutes.
Add broth to pot along with water, beef, and any juices from platter and bring to a simmer.
Cover and braise in oven until meat is very tender, about 2 1/2 hours.
Set a large colander in a large bowl. Pour stew into colander. Return pieces of meat to pot, then pulse remaining solids in a food processor. Add the pulsed veggies back into the meat pot. Let cooking liquid stand 10 minutes.
Cook root vegetables:
While beef braises, peel potatoes and cut into halves. Slice carrots and parsnips diagonally (1-inch). Remove papery skins from shallots.
Add root vegetables, shallots, and dried mushrooms to stew and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until they are tender, about 40 minutes.
Stew improves in flavor if made at least 1 day ahead. Chill (covered once cool) up to 5 days. Reheat, covered, over medium heat or in a 350°F oven.