Winter Beef Stew
This stew is mostly old-school, with the addition of pancetta at the start of the cooking process, just to give everything a little more depth and punch. Otherwise, onions, carrots, potatoes, and peas mix into a thick stew that is as delicious served in a bowl all on its own as it is served atop mashed potatoes or polenta.
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces diced pancetta
1 pound stew meat (chuck), cut into 2-inch cubes
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground pepper
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup red wine
3 cups beef broth
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs thyme
6 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 russet potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 12-ounce bag frozen peas
Chopped parsley, for garnish
Warm 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until it is crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove the pancetta to a paper towel-lined plate.
Season the meat generously with the salt and pepper. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the same pot over medium-high heat. Place half of the meat in the pot and brown on all sides, turning, for about 7 minutes. Remove the meat to a bowl and repeat with the remaining meat. Set the beef cubes aside.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until the onion is translucent, then stir in the flour until it is evenly distributed throughout the onions and garlic. Stir in the wine and turn the heat to medium-high. Cook for 2 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Add the beef broth, bay leaf, and thyme, and bring to a boil. Simmer on medium-high for 3 to 4 minutes until the sauce reduces and begins to thicken. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and return the meat and juices to the pot. Cover and simmer for about 1 ½ hours. Add the carrots and potatoes, cover again and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
Stir in the peas and pancetta. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve with chopped parsley sprinkled over top.
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