Sunday, February 25, 2024

Beef Merlot

We had a snow day last week that was supposed to be significant but nothing really came of it….other than this rich and hearty comforting stew!   I usually don’t cook with a lot of wine but this time I decided that I wanted a richer deeper flavor to my stew. So I looked in the pantry and there was a bottle of unopened Merlot that a guest had brought for dinner one night.   Instead of making my Mom’s country beef stew, I made this traditional French stew and it turned out so delicious.  The wine cooks off of course but it leaves an incredible thick, rich sauce and make this stew unlike any you’ve  ever had!   This one is a keeper!

Beef Merlot

4 lbs. chuck roast, cut into 2 inch cubes
large onion, sliced
10-12 baby potatoes, unpeeled
cloves garlic, minced
strips bacon, diced into pieces
2 carrots, sliced into rounds
tablespoon of tomato paste
tablespoons olive oil
bay leaf
1 ½ cups Merlot Wine (or other dry red wine)
Beef broth to cover the meat once browned
16 ounces Shitaki mushrooms, halved if really large
tablespoons cornstarch mixed into
1/2 cup water
Salt and black pepper to season

Rinse whole baby potatoes and boil until tender.  You can also use the microwave to cook them until tender if preferred.  Set aside.

Brown the beef cubes in olive oil in a large stew pot or Dutch oven until nicely browned.  Set aside in a bowl.
Add a little more oil if needed and sauté bacon in until crisp. Next, add the diced onion and minced garlic and sauté until the onion softens and the garlic becomes fragrant. Add the tomato paste and stir it around for about a minute or so.

Add the bay leaf and wine, stirring to scrape up all those browned bits in the bottom of the pot.
Return the meat to the pot along with any accumulated juices and then add just enough beef broth to cover the meat. 
Add the sliced carrots and bring the stew to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 hours or until the meat and carrots become very tender.

Once the meat is fork tender, add the mushrooms and potatoes and simmer on low heat for an additional 20-30 minutes.

Finally, make a slurry by adding the cornstarch with the cold water and whisk well. Pour into stew and stir until thickened.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.   
Serve with a crusty bread or homemade biscuits for dipping! 

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