Once Upon a Chef’s Beef Stew Is Rich, Complex, and Fuss-Free
When I was growing up, our family’s beef stew never included green peas. Maybe that’s because my brother and I didn’t care for them then (we do now), or perhaps because of broader family traditions and tastes. The beef stew recipe from Once Upon a Chef doesn’t include green peas, either, and is the only one in this showdown that omits them. I wondered if, compared to the other recipes, this one would fall flat without the little pops of sweetness. Perhaps the good amount of red wine would make up for it — the recipe uses two cups of it. The other classic stew elements are all present in the recipe (cubes of beef chuck roast, onions, garlic, carrots, potatoes, herbs), so I was hopeful that the stew would satisfy.
Get the recipe: Once Upon a Chef’s Beef Stew with Carrots & Potatoes
How to Make Once Upon a Chef’s Beef Stew with Carrots & Potatoes
The recipe is straightforward and fuss-free. It starts by having you brown seasoned chunks of beef chuck roast in oil in a Dutch oven. You remove the meat from the pan and add onions, garlic, and balsamic vinegar, cooking and scraping the bottom of the pot to release the browned bits. You then stir in tomato paste and cook it for a minute, then return the beef to the pan and sprinkle it with flour, stirring until the flour is dissolved. Wine, beef broth, and water (in equal amounts) then go into the pot, along with herbs and a small amount of sugar. You cover the pot and cook the stew in a 325°F oven for two hours. You then stir in carrot chunks and halved baby Yukon golds, cover the pot, and cook for another hour.
My Honest Review of Once Upon a Chef’s Beef Stew with Carrots & Potatoes
I was curious about how the flavor would turn out, with all of that red wine plus a splash of balsamic vinegar. To my delight, it was wonderful. The stew’s broth was hearty and rich, with the acidity (toned down by long cooking) bringing balance and complexity so that the overall effect wasn’t too heavy. The beef was buttery and tender, and the vegetables were perfectly cooked. I didn’t miss the peas, either.
If You’re Making Once Upon a Chef’s Beef Stew with Carrots & Potatoes, a Few Tips
- Add peas if you want. If you’re accustomed to having green peas in your beef stew, by all means stir them in at the end. A cup of frozen green peas should be about right.
- Use the right red wine. The recipe calls for “dry red wine,” and the “dry” is important for nailing the flavor. Opt for a rich, dry red such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Pinot Noir, or Chianti.
- Prevent ouches. This tip applies to more than just this recipe. When you pull a hot pan out of the oven and add more ingredients to it, you run the risk of accidentally grabbing the hot handle(s) with bare hands when you go to return the pan to the oven. Try to do this every time this situation arises: When you pull the pan from the oven, immediately place your oven mitt or a kitchen towel over the handle(s), then stir in the additional ingredients. When it’s time to return the pan to the oven, you’ll be reminded to protect your hands.
Overall rating: 9/10