One-Pot Beef Stew

One-pot meals are great. And these days, when both parents in a household are part of the work force, they’re almost a must.

Although it’s just Therese and I at home, it’s nice after work to return to a house that’s filled with fragrant aromas and a meal just waiting to be dished out. And occasionally, our grandson, Rakeem, joins us for supper when his mother still is working.

About once a week, I like to put a chicken or roast into the oven with carrots, potatoes and an onion, to slow-cook all afternoon, and be ready to eat when we get home after a long day at work.

In the winter,those one-pot meals are especially nice because not only does the house smell good, it’s also has a nice warm feeling to it.

Even on the weekends, when I have a lot more time, I like the idea of a one-pot meal. I’m always making soup or the like.

This week, an e-mail I received had three recipes for one-pot meals. We already published one — for chicken pot pie — in my One Byte At A Time feature in the daily Herald (www.grandforksherald.com/event/tag/group/Features/tag/food/). Here’s a second one, for a beef stew, which looks pretty tasty.

And like other one-pot meals, it’s easy to make, and very little cleanup is require.

Beef Stew with Red Wine
3½ pounds beef stew meat cut into 1½-inch cubes
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons vegetable or light olive oil
1¼ cups dry red wine, divided
1 large onion, chopped
1 14½-ounce can reduced-sodium beef broth
1 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
5 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
6 ounces frozen peas
1 10-ounce package white button mushrooms, stemmed and quartered
1 cup water
1 stalk celery, sliced in ½-inch pieces
Using paper towel, blot beef dry. In large bowl, toss beef with salt, pepper and flour.
Warm 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add meat in a single layer; cook 6 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove from pot and transfer to a bowl. Add ½ cup of the wine to pot and stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up loose bits on the bottom of the pot. Wine will thicken and combine with pot bits to make a thick sauce. Lift pot off heat and scrape this sauce onto the browned beef.
Return pot to heat; add 2 tablespoons oil. Brown remaining beef as above and transfer to bowl. Add another ½ cup wine; deglaze pot as above and transfer to browned beef.
Warm remaining 1 tablespoon oil in same pot over medium heat.
Add onion and celery; cook 5 minutes, until softened, stirring often. Add remaining ¼ cup wine, stirring until wine boils off. Return beef and juices in bowl to pot.
Add broth, tomatoes, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer; reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 1 and a half hours, stirring occasionally and adding water to desired consistency.
Stir in carrots, mushrooms, peas and 1 cup water; cover and cook 1 hour, until meat and vegetables are tender. Do not let stew boil; keep at a low simmer. Season with salt and pepper.
Yield: Serves 6.

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