Stews are ideal foods for party service - informal parties, of course - because continued cooking doesn't seem to hurt them. Use any of the less tender cuts for stew, but you will find that if you use very fat, gristly cuts you may have a less pleasing result than if you use good cuts of less tender parts. Chuck, round, rump, and shin all are good stewing cuts, and one should remember not to have too much fat on the meat. Three pounds of beef will serve six people amply and should leave some for the next day.
About 40 minutes before the stew is ready for the table, the vegetables can be added and allowed to cook with the meat. Almost any combination of vegetables may be added. Small onions, celery, peas, green beans, lima beans, potatoes, salsify - practically any vegetable is good.
Many people like dumplings with stew. Some prefer boiled rice, other noodles. I hope you like my recipe for this holiday beef stew with lingonberries.
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 3 lb. boneless stewing beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- 6 fresh flat-leaf parsley stems
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- 1/3 cup dry red wine
- 3 cups beef or veal broth
- 1 cup frozen lingonberries or cranberries
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 325°F.
In a large, heavy pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onions and carrots and sauté until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a plate and set aside.
Working in batches, add the beef to the pot in a single layer; do not crowd the pot. Cook, uncovered, turning occasionally, until golden brown on all sides, 7 to 10 minutes. When all the meat is browned, return it to the pot, sprinkle with the flour and cook, stirring, until the meat is evenly coated, about 1 minute. Return the onions and carrots to the pot and add the garlic. Using kitchen string, tie the parsley stems, cinnamon stick, thyme sprigs and bay leaves into a bundle and add to the pot as well.
Increase the heat to high, pour in the wine and bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the pot bottom. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced by one-fourth, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the broth and honey and stir well. Increase the heat to high, bring to a boil. Cover, place in the oven, and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Add the lingonberries or cranberries and continue to cook until the meat is tender when pierced with a knife, another 1/2 hour.
Remove the herb bundle and discard. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle the stew into warmed bowls and serve immediately. Serve with extra berries.