This savory stew is adapted from Ree Drummond’s Beef Stew with Root Vegetables. Perfect for Sunday suppers with the family and friends. It can also be made the day before you’re going to serve it, giving you more time to relax. I modified to suite my personal taste by adding more vegetables and herbs. I also use wine instead of beer. It’s a classic beef stew that will leave you with a cozy feeling and a smile on your face.
Make sure you cut the vegetables thin or small so they cook properly. They’re added toward the end of cooking, so it’s important that they’re not too large or else they’ll be underdone.
To thicken the stew, I use potato starch mixed with water. It’s my go-to, hassle-free thickener for soups, gravies and stews. It’s gluten free and tasteless. You can find it online or at the supermarket. Bob’s Red Mill is the brand I find in my market. Once the stew is done cooking, mix one tablespoon of potato starch with one tablespoon of cold water. Viola, instant thick, glossy gravy with and no fussing with a roux.
I use part of a rutabaga instead of regular white turnips because I love the subtle sweetness of rutabagas. But white turnips are what Ree calls for and they’re wonderful too. Dried thyme and fresh thyme lends additional layers of flavor.
I use a couple of good splashes of dry vermouth in this recipe. Vermouth is a nice substitute for wine. It’s fortified with herbs and spices, making it a good choice for savory dishes. I learned this from Julia Child. It’s easy to keep on hand. It’s economical, as there’s no need to open a full bottle of wine for a single recipe. I store it in the fridge. I reach for it often to deglaze a pan or to use in stews and gravies.
The stew takes about two and a half to three hours to cook on a low simmer. But there’s minimal prep work, so it’s one of those fix it and forget it recipes. Gently bubbling away, it’ll fill your home with the intoxicating aromas that only beef stew with wine can produce.
Add some butter and oil to a dutch oven or pot and saute the onions, sprinkling some salt and pepper on them as they cook. Once the onions have softened, remove them and set them aside. Add a little more butter and oil to the pot and brown the beef on all sides. Add some salt and pepper to the beef. Brown the beef in batches, if you have to, so you don’t crowd the pot. Too much beef in the pot at one time will steam rather than brown the beef. You want nicely browned beef and some caramelization on the bottom of the pot. This gives lots of flavor. Once the beef is browned, stir in the reserved onions, garlic, vermouth, beef broth, tomato paste, dried thyme, paprika and sugar. Bring to a boil and adjust the salt and pepper. Turn down the heat to low, cover the pot and cook the stew for about one and a half hours. The stew should be very gently bubbling away on a low flame. Check from time to time and stir. Add more beef broth if needed. Once the beef is tender, after about one and a half hours, add the rutabaga and carrots. Continue cooking on a gentle boil until the vegetables are tender. This should take about thirty minutes or so. Once the vegetables are tender, mix one tablespoon of potato starch with one tablespoon of cold water. Stir this mixture into the stew to thicken the sauce. Continue cooking for five minutes or so. Serve the stew with minced flat leaf parsley and freshly minced thyme. Mashed potatoes, crusty bread or buttered noodles are great sidekicks.