I grew up enjoying my mom’s delicious beef stew almost every winter — my dad always made buttermilk biscuits to go with it. It’s the ultimate winter dish, full of richness, warmth and comfort. F added beef to a soup we ate the other week, and it made me think of my mom’s beef stew. So I asked her for the recipe, which she said originally comes from the old Betty Crocker cookbook that my parents have. She and my dad have doctored the stew recipe over the years to achieve ultimate deliciousness. F and I further developed it; we had to add more liquid (and chose to do so with more wine rather than water) and we tossed in a few extra root vegetables. It turned out so well and so rich that I could not finish what was in my bowl. I made these biscuits (with chives instead of scallions and with buttermilk instead of regular milk) to soak up the juices. Second- and third-day stew almost tasted better than it was the first night.
Note: this stew takes quite some time to cook — start the process 3-4 hours before you plan on eating (you’ll have plenty of down time while it’s simmering).
This is one of the best dishes ever.
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- 2 lbs (~1 kg) stew beef, cut into small cubes
- 2-3 cups water
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1-4 garlic cloves
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- to taste: ground black pepper
- 3 whole cloves or dash of allspice
- 1 large can of crushed tomatoes
- 2 small cans of tomato paste/puree
- 3/4 bottle red wine
- 6 carrots, cubed
- 4 potatoes, cubed
- 10-15 shallots, peeled and left whole
- 3 turnips, cubed
- 1 parsnip, cubed
- Brown the stew beef in a large pot. Add the spices and liquids (through red wine, above). Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 1.5 hours.
- Add the chopped the root vegetables and peeled shallots. Cover and cook for another 30-45 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked through.
- Serve with a warm buttermilk biscuit.