Aaahhh, the deep richness of stew that had been cooked in red wine. It’s incomparable. So perfect for the chilly nights that go hand-in-glove with the holiday season. I used about three quarters of a bottle of Merlot for this beef stew, a generous amount of herbs was added and the sauce was thickened with a mixture of flour and butter.
It starts with mirepoix which provides the first layer of concentrated yet still subtle flavors. Then, the Merlot and the herbs, and that’s really all you need to infuse the meat with all things wonderful.
Note that there are two ways you can prepare the beef to make sure that the beef pieces retain their shape better during the long, slow cooking. One is to parboil; the other is to brown the meat. Your choice.
- 1 kilogram stewing beef (short ribs, beef crest or beef shank will all work), cut into two-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup onion chopped
- 1/4 cup carrot chopped
- 1/4 cup celery chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
- 3/4 bottle of Merlot
- meat broth as needed
- 2 medium potatoes cut into wedges
- 1/3 cup sweet peas
- 2 tablespoons butter softened
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- parsley snipped, to garnish
Melt the butter. Cook the onion, carrot and celery with a bit of salt and pepper until softened (see post on mirepoix).
Add the (parboiled or browned) beef. Sprinkle in the rosemary, thyme and sage.
Pour in the wine. Let boil for about 10 minutes, uncovered. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for two to two and a half hours or until the beef is tender. If the liquid dries up before the beef is done, pour in broth, half a cup at a time. Taste every half hour so or, and adjust the seasonings accordingly.
Add the potatoes and peas.
Drop in the butter-flour mixture by pinches. Stir everything together and continue to simmer, covered, until the vegetables are done.
Taste and adjust the seasonings one last time.
Sprinkle with parsley before serving your holiday beef stew.