Jump to the Recipe
As the weather turns cold, one-pot recipes like this one are good to have on hand.
About 10 years ago, my cousin Lynne made a delicious stew that looked like mine, but with plum tomatoes, and a mellow undertone I couldn’t identify. I asked her secret and learned that it was balsamic vinegar.
The recipe below has become a favorite in our house, especially when the whole gang is home. Delicious with biscuits on the side and a glass of red wine, it’s a great way to warm up after a day out in the snow.
Here’s my version of Lynne’s recipe.
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 –Prepare Your Mise en Place
Get your ingredients ready.
Start by cutting your beef into 1 ½ to 2-inch cubes, if the butcher hasn’t already done this for you.
Peel the carrots and potatoes, and remove strings from the beans and celery.
Chop the shallots, halve the cremini mushrooms and green beans, peel and cut the carrots into rounds, quarter the plum tomatoes (reserving the juice), and cut the celery and potatoes into pieces.
Measure out the oil, butter, beef stock, balsamic vinegar, and bay leaves.
Set the cornstarch, water, salt, and pepper to the side.
Step 2 – Sear the Meat
Heat up the oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat.
Sear the meat on all sides, until they are just browned. You don’t want to overcook the meat as it will have time to simmer in the pot later. Transfer the meat to a bowl and set aside.
Step 3 – Cook the Mushrooms and Shallots
Reduce the heat to medium, and then melt the butter (or margarine) before adding the chopped shallots and halved mushrooms.
Cook until the mushrooms are lightly browned, and the shallots have become translucent.
Make sure to stir with a wooden spoon every so often to prevent the shallots from burning.
Step 4 – Let It Simmer
Reduce the heat to low and return the meat to the pot. Now add the balsamic vinegar and just enough beef stock to submerge the ingredients.
Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring just once.
Step 5 – Add the Other Vegetables
Add the halved green beans, cut carrots, quartered plum tomatoes with their juice, dried bay leaves, chopped celery, and pieces of potato.
Now, pour in the rest of the beef stock. If the stock is not enough to submerge all the ingredients, add enough water to do so.
Step 6 – Cover and Simmer
Cover the pot and let the ingredients simmer for 45 minutes until both the beef cubes and the vegetables are tender. Remove the bay leaves.
If you wish to thicken the broth, mix equal amounts of cornstarch and water a teaspoon at a time in a small bowl, to create a smooth slurry. Stir the mixture into the broth over medium-low heat until it reaches the desired consistency.
Finally, add salt and pepper to taste. All that’s left to do is to divide the stew into bowls, then garnish each with fresh parsley and serve!
Spin Your Stew Your Way
As with any recipe, once you’ve got the basics down, you can experiment with variations that your family may enjoy.
Do you think you’d like to try this recipe with lamb? If so, use sweet green peas instead of beans, and add two fresh sprigs of marjoram during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
Sometimes I use leftover vegetables in this recipe. Just add them during the last five minutes of cooking. I don’t recommend using broccoli or peppers, as they are likely to overpower the dish.
Tell us about your family’s favorites in the comments below!
Photos by Felicia Lim, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS. for more details. With Cooking by the Numbers also by Felicia Lim.
*Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Nan Schiller
Nan Schiller is a writer from southeastern Pennsylvania. When she’s not in the garden, she’s in the kitchen preparing imaginative gluten- and dairy-free meals. With a background in business, writing, editing, and photography, Nan writes humorous and informative articles on gardening, food, parenting, and real estate topics. Having celiac disease has only served to inspire her to continue to explore creative ways to provide her family with nutritious locally-sourced food.