Beef stew

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The weather over here continues to surprise me, there is no trace of the dry and sunny days we’ve been enjoying for the last two weeks. It is raining again, the sky is grey and it is hard to believe we are in mid-summer. I do not know about you but for me weather and food are intrinsically connected..as soon as I lack sunlight I tend to crave comfort food 🙂 Food that fills me up and makes me feel good. This  stew is comfort food at its most comforting. And despite it is a humble dish, with a few ingredients, it always does the magic for me with its sheer deliciousness.  Stews vary from cuisine to cuisine but what the majority of them have in common are the chunky pieces of meat (mainly beef) and vegetables, simmered  for several hours.

I am a big fan of one-pot meals as they provide not only for unfussy cooking but also maximum flavour. Just think of the meat, vegetables, herbs and olive oil blending beautifully and flavouring each other.  This hearty stew is Italian-inspired and is sure to satisfy.

Ingredients:

500 g boneless beef chuck cut into cubes

4 medium onions chopped coarsely

5 medium sized carrots, peeled and halved

5 cloves garlic, halved

500 g canned tomatoes, chopped

6 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 water cup dry red wine.  I always use wine that I like to drink on its own in my cooking.

3 cups water

2 sprigs fresh thyme

A handful of fresh chopped oregano. If using dry oregano-a teaspoon.

A handful of fresh chopped parsley

3 cups water

Salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons plain flour

Heat three tablespoons of olive oil in a pot (if you have a Dutch oven, even better) over medium-high heat. Season the beef chunks with salt and pepper then dredge in flour. Brown them well on all sides in the heated olive oil. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the additional olive oil to the pot and sauté the chopped onion, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stirring constantly sauté for half a minute. Remove from the pot. Pour the wine, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pot, and simmer until reduced, about 2 minutes. Return the meat and onions to the pot, add tomatoes, carrots, thyme and chopped oregano. Stir in salt and black pepper to taste, add water and cover with the lid.

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Simmer for 2 hours over low heat until the beef is very tender. After that uncover the pot and cook for additional 1/2 hour. Before serving discard the thyme sprig and stir in the chopped parsley.

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I served the stew on a bed of rice pilaf but it is also delicious with mashed potatoes, polenta or pasta.

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