This dinner was the result of a happy convergence between the weather and a shopping trip of all things. First it got cool. Anyone who has followed this blog knows that as soon as it gets cool the stew/soup pot comes out of the spot where we tucked it away in the spring when the weather turned warm. Then when we were last shopping in the US I found stewing beef on for a crazy cheap price at Wegmans.
Beef stew it was.
I didn't want to do just any beef sew though. I decided upon this Italian beef stew from the January 2011 Cooking Light. I liked the fact that it used some ingredients that never showed up in te stews of my childhood and the fact that it only had 334 calories a serving.
I had to laugh at some of the online reviews - some folks complained that this was too complex and involved a long cooking time making it a challenge to pull the recipe together for a weeknight meal. Well yes, it is a stew. Stews are not meant for weeknight meals IMHO unless you're just heating leftovers. Stews are a perfect weekend meal - they can cook all afternoon . . . filling the house with the most amazing scents.
This was a brilliant addition to my collection of stew recipes and as with all stews - the leftovers just got better and better!
Italian Beef Stew
7 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 pounds boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into cubes
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup dry red wine
3 3/4 cups chopped seeded peeled plum tomato (about 2 pounds)
1 1/2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium beef broth
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 (8-ounce) package cremini mushrooms, quartered
3/4 cup (1/4-inch-thick) slices carrot
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil to pan. Add onion and chopped carrot; sauté 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; sauté for 45 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove from pan.
Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan. Place 1/4 cup flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle beef with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper; dredge in flour. Add half of beef to pan; sauté 6 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove from pan. Repeat procedure.
Add wine to pan, and bring to a boil, scraping pan. Cook until reduced to 1/3 cup (about 5 minutes). Return meat and the onion mixture to pan. Add tomato and next 6 ingredients; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Uncover, and stir in sliced carrot.
Simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour or until meat is very tender, stirring occasionally.
Discard bay leaf. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, basil, and parsley.