Weather 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 some days but it does not have to be hard to plan dinner. This stovetop beef stew is for the days when you stare longingly at the emerging buds of spring, while your thermostat reads below freezing. 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.
How to make this recipe easier
This recipe is never going to be a 1 spoon meal BUT you can make it about 1 spoon easier. I do not recommend skipping the browning step of the beef but we can cut corners in some other ways.
- Buy pre-cut stew meat. You do not need fancy beef to make stew since it is braised for so long. The pre-cut kind will work just fine and eliminates one time consuming and sensory displeasing step.
- Use frozen or pre-cut vegetables. Onions, carrots, and peas are all frequently available cut and frozen, while celery, potatoes, and garlic can be purchased fresh but cut (or minced). If you start from frozen vegetables, they will also likely require less time to cook.
Absolutely, stew freezes and re-heats very well. Just be sure to store your stew in an airtight container and it should maintain full quality for about 3 months.
Not only CAN you double the recipe, I recommend doing it so you have some leftovers, especially since it freezes so well.
Nope, there are advantages and disadvantages to different beef cuts for stew. Other than sirloin you can use a chuck roast, round roast, short ribs, or oxtail. Learn more about what makes a cut good for stew.
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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
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 ½ pound sirloin trimmed lightly and cubed
- 1 onion chopped
- 3 carrots chopped
- 3 stalks celery chopped
- 3 cloves garlic sliced
- ⅓ cup sherry
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 ½ cups chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme tied together with twine
- 1 teaspoon rosemary dried
- 4 yukon gold potatoes chopped
- ½ cup green peas frozen
- 1 teaspoon salt divided, more to taste
- ½ teaspoon pepper and more to taste
- parsley optional
- Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable 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 cubes to the pan, spreading them into an even layer. Cook for about 1-2 minutes 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, adding the other tablespoon of oil before cooking.
- Turn heat down to medium and add 1 tablespoon of oil, onion, carrots, and celery to the pot. Add ½ teaspoon 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 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, adjusting as necessary for your taste. Serve right away with some fresh parsley or freeze for later.
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