Spring in Minnesota is a fickle beast. Routine weather swings have you alternately snuggling in blankets on the couch and dawning shorts to dig in your garden. It is hard to know what to wear during this volatile time but it does not have to be hard to plan dinner. This hearty spring time beef stew is for the days when you stare longingly at the emerging buds of spring, while your thermostat reads below freezing. Though, frankly, it is also great through the winter. Who am I kidding? It’s great all year long.
Beef stew is a great use of those long-lasting root vegetables, like potatoes, carrots, onions, and garlic. Isn’t it about time that you fully appreciated their heroic endurance anyway? This dish is about these brave warriors and you can make them shine, even as you turn your mind to the forthcoming “fruits” of your garden labor. This stew is also a good excuse to bake up a batch of crusty French bread. Slather a hunk of crusty bread with some garlic, compound butter and dunk it into the deep umami of the stew. It is heavenly – almost enough to forget that it’s still too cold to plant your stockpile of seeds.
This is a very freezer friendly meal; re-heating may even manage to make it better. Be aware that if you want to have some leftovers, it may be worth making a double batch. This recipe is so good that it rarely makes it past the next day’s lunch in our home. Now, go forth and eat enough stew to quell that aching desire to mow your lawn.
Hearty Stovetop Spring Time Beef Stew
- 3 tbsp olive oil divided
- 1 ½ lb sirloin trimmed lightly and cubed
- 1 onion chopped
- 3-4 carrots chopped
- 3 stalks celery chopped
- 3 cloves garlic sliced
- ⅓ cup sherry
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 ½ cups chicken stock
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme tied together with twine
- 1 tsp rosemary dried
- 4 yukon gold potatoes chopped
- ½ cup green peas frozen
- 1 tsp salt divided, more to taste
- ½ tsp pepper and more to taste
- parsley optional
- Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large heavy bottom pan (I like cast iron for this) over medium high heat until smoking lightly.
- Add half of the sirloin to the pan, spreading them into an even layer.
- Cook for about 1 minute per side, flipping when the first side has browned and removing from pan when the second has as well.
- Repeat with the other half of the sirloin.
- Turn heat down to medium and add 1 tbsp of oil, onion, carrots, and celery to the pot.
- Add ½ tsp of salt the vegetables and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions start to soften ~5 minutes.
- Mix in garlic and cook for an additional minute.
- Turn the heat back up to med-high, then pour in sherry to deglaze the pan, scraping browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Cook sherry for about 2 minutes, until it has thickened.
- Add broths, fish sauce, bay leaf, rosemary, and thyme to the pot and bring to a simmer.
- Mix the beef back into the pot.
- Turn pot down to low, then cover and cook for 2 ½ hours.
- Stir potatoes into the stew, then recover the pot and cook for 30 minutes.
- Remove top from the pot, turn heat up enough to maintain a light simmer, and cook for 15 minutes.
- Stir in peas and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Remove bay leaf and thyme sprigs.
- Season stew with ½ tsp of salt and pepper, adjusting as necessary for your taste.
- Serve right away with some fresh parsley or freeze for later.