Summary: A really delicious beef stew that’s light enough for summer
- 2 lbs boneless chuck roast, cut into chunks
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- boiling water
- 1/2 oz dried porcini mushrooms
- 2 lg carrots, peeled and sliced thin
- 1 stalk celery, sliced thin
- 1 lg onion, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- cooking spray
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1/4 cup beef stock, such as College Inn
- 1/3 cup pitted Niçoise olives (see note)
- 15 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
- 3 sprigs Italian parsley
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 (1 inch) strip orange zest
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- Combine first three ingredients in a zip top bag. Seal and marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Combine dried mushrooms with enough boiling water to cover them (at least 1/2 a cup). Cover and let sit 30 minutes. Drain, reserving soaking liquid, and chop mushrooms.
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray and add beef and garlic mixture and a pinch of salt and black pepper. Cook five minutes, or until beef is seared on all sides. Remove beef to slow cooker.
- Spray pan with cooking spray again. Add onions, carrots, and celery. Sprinkle with salt and cook until onions are translucent and carrots and celery are fragrant. Add to slow cooker.
- Deglaze pan with wine, beef stock, and 1/4 cup of the reserved mushroom soaking liquid, scraping the pan to loosen the browned bits. Once the wine mixture has come to a boil, pour into the slow cooker.
- Add the next six ingredients to the slow cooker (through tomatoes). Stir everything up to combine.
- Place peppercorns, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and orange rind on a double layer of cheese cloth. Gather edges together and secure with twine. Add to the slow cooker, making sure that the bundle is submerged in the liquid (see note)
- Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours, or until beef and vegetables are fully cooked.
- Combine cornstarch with one tablespoon water or any left over mushroom liquid. Mix it up into a slurry and pour into slow cooker. Stir it in to combine. Cook 20 minutes more, or until liquid is slightly thickened.
The pot liquor from this recipe is fairly thin, and the flavors are bright and fresh, making it delicious even in the hottest of months. Neal doesn’t eat bacon, so we almost never cook with it, but this recipe has a distinct bacon-y flavor.
I detest olives so I left them out, but they are very flavorful, so if you like them, by all means keep them in. I generally don’t bother binding herbs and such up; things like fresh thyme generally cook off the stem, which is then easily picked out. However, you should at least bind up the whole peppercorns, or you’ll spend so much time trying to avoid them, you won’t fully enjoy the stew.
Preparation time: 30 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 8
Culinary tradition: French
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