Oh what a difference roasting the vegetables first does for your average stew! Not only that, these days you can find nutritionally dense heirloom ‘miniatures’ beets, turnips and sweet potatoes (but cut-up regular vegetables are fine) to update this traditional favorite.
2 cups baby carrots
1 cup small new potatoes (or small potato cubes)
1 cup sweet potato cubes
1 cup (peeled) turnip cubes
1 cup beets, in small cubes
3 cloves garlic, peeled, optional
2-4 tbsp. light olive oil
¼ cup water
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup shredded potatoes
2 pounds lean stewing beef, in small chunks, trimmed
1 cup beef stock or bouillon
1/2 cup water or non-alcoholised beer or wine
½ tsp. salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp. fresh pepper, or to taste
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. sweet paprika
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce, optional
2 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. water
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Prepare the vegetables. In a large skillet, add the oil and water. Toss in the baby carrots, new potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, beets and garlic in the oil/water mixture, ensuring all the vegetables are lightly coated with oil. Lightly cover with foil and place in the oven.
3. For the meat, place the stewing beef in a 4 quart oven-proof casserole with a lid, and add the shredded carrots, potatoes, beef stock, water or non-alcoholised beer or wine, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika and Worcestershire sauce. Cover and place in oven to cook, alongside the vegetables.
4. Remove vegetables after an hour or when tender and set aside.
5. Cook until stew meat is tender, approximately two hours. When the meat is tender and ready, fold in roasted vegetables and adjust seasonings.
6. Mix water and cornstarch together and a medium heat, add in the cornstarch mixture and stir stew until it bubbles, thickens and has a slightly shine. Serve stew with a green salad.
The trick in this sumptuous stew recipe is to roast the vegetables alongside the braising stew meat in the oven; fold them in to the stew just before serving. The vegetables keep intact (vs. becoming part of the stew gravy or much and it’s bouquet of vibrant colours along with an enticing spectrum of flavors.
Adding a touch of cornstarch to the finished stew thickens the gravy and offers an appetizing gloss to the dish and the sauce adheres to the meat.
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