Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mahogany Beef Stew with Red Wine and Hoisin Sauce

Stew is one of those dishes that I struggle with, because it never tastes quite as good as I think it should.  But David loves a good stew, particularly in the heart of Canadian Winter, so it is always on the menu a few times in the early months of the year. I've decided the secret is cutting up an actual roast for stew meat rather than buying the pre-cut cubes that are labelled as 'stewing beef' in the meat section. Or at least, that's what we tried with this particular recipe and it was one of the best stews I've had in a long time. As with other stews I've known and loved, this one is even better the next day if you can manage leftovers.

We're moving in to Spring soon; I actually made this dish weeks ago at the height of the worst of our Winter, which in truth hasn't been all that bad this year. We had a few weekends in a row of conditions that were pretty perfect for tubing / tobogganing and we made the most of it. Then we came inside and had stew.

Mahogany Beef Stew with Red Wine and Hoisin Sauce (from Epicurious)

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed, cut into 2 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 cups Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian herbs, undrained
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce*
  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 pound slender carrots, peeled, cut diagonally into 1-inch lengths
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large pot over high heat. Sprinkle meat with salt and pepper. Add meat to pot; sauté until brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Push meat to sides of pot. Reduce heat to medium; add 2 tablespoons oil to pot. Add onions; sauté until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Mix meat into onions. Add 1 cup wine, tomatoes with juices, hoisin sauce, and bay leaves. Bring to boil.
Reduce heat to low, cover pot and simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add carrots and 1 cup wine. Cover; simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover, increase heat to high; boil until sauce is slightly thickened, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes longer. Reduce heat to medium, add cornstarch mixture and simmer until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Season stew with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Bring to simmer before serving, stirring occasionally.) Transfer stew to large bowl. Sprinkle with parsley; serve.

Note: I really wanted to use a wine called Melville Pinot Noir (2010) to make this roast. We were gifted some at Christmas and it is one of the few red wines I have ever tried that I actually enjoyed. I know Pinot Noir is different from Cabernet Sauvignon. I don't know how, and I'm sure they shouldn't be so recklessly substituted, but I'm like that sometimes. Reckless in the kitchen.  

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