Here is a beef stew with the added complexity of wild mushrooms to give it some extra body and flavor. Neither the type of meat nor the choice of vegetables is vitally important, because this dish is very flexible. Add some celery if you like or potatoes, or other vegetables of your choice.
The dried cape is excellent added to a casserole or stock pot; it's rich body carries its flavors well and allows it to stand up to other flavors and improve them. Meat stocks and onions go well with ceps. The mushroom and its extracts are especially well paired with beef, veal, pork, lamb, furred and feathered game, and with rice and pasta dishes. Its flavor is too strong to be used with fish.
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and 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, crushed
- 3 bay leaves
- few thyme sprigs
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 3-4 cups beef or veal broth
- 1 1/2 cup dried wild mushrooms, I used capes (porcini) mushrooms from Russian forests
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- fresh dill
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, carrots, add dried mushrooms, bay leaves, thyme and garlic to the pot. Add salt, pepper and paprika. Pour in the broth, red wine and stir well. Increase the heat to high, bring to a boil. Cover the pot, place in the oven, and cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Remove bay leaves, discard. Adjust seasoning with with salt and pepper. Ladle the stew into warmed bowls and serve immediately. Serve with fresh dill.