It’s finally fall, my absolute favorite time of year. This is when I bring out the Le Creuset Dutch Oven and start making hearty dishes, like this humble and easy beef stew recipe.
While the recipe is super easy, it does require some improvisation on your part, mainly when it comes to what liquid you’ll use. You could use all beef broth if you’re not that into cooking with wine or part beef broth and part wine—the measurements are up to you. I find that using mostly wine works for me; it leads to a rich, hearty broth to devour with wine and a baguette.
If you’re having friends over for dinner, open a bottle of Malleolus 2011 from Spain. Considered the best vintage of the decade, this grand and elegant wine has black fruit aromas, subtle oak and powerful tannins.
I must tell you about three butcher shops I frequent. They’re all in Brooklyn and worth a visit for their vast choices and old school atmospheres.
You’ll want to dip some bread—buttered preferably—into your stew. I’ve been getting the ciabatta at Caputo’s (Court Street in Carroll Gardens) and at Bien Cuit on Smith Street but there are a million bread shops where you’ll find a good loaf.
We’ve been listening to Nina Simone, the Greatest Hits Album.
In a large pot (I use a Le Creuset Dutch oven) heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until crisp. Remove pancetta. Season the beef with salt and pepper and then brown in the pancetta fat on all sides. You may need to do this in two batches. You don't want to overcrowd the pan. Once the beef is browned, remove. Skim off some of the fat then add the vegetables and garlic. Once the vegetables are soft, add the wine and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add about 1 1/2 cups of stock, pancetta, beef and tomato paste. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then lower to medium-low. Add the fresh herbs. Simmer for 2 - 2 1/2 hours adding more wine and/or beef broth as needed. I tend to add more wine than broth and the result is rich and flavorful.