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Author Notes: This winter stew is thick, rich and fragrant with bay leaves and brandy. I’ve added turnips which lend an earthy, subtly sweet quality and the crunchy garlic croutons add a savory element. The long cooking process allows the sauce to thicken and the turnips and onions to melt into the stew. Don’t be afraid to ignite the brandy (use a long kitchen match) – it’s kind of fun and I have not set my kitchen on fire once (so far...). —coffeefoodwrite
For the Stew:
- 3 pounds chuck roast – cut into 2” chunks
- 2 yellow onions – halved and then quartered
- 4 large cloves garlic – crushed
- 5 large white rose potatoes – cut into 2” chunks
- 2 large turnips – cut into 1” chunks
- 2 bottles red wine (good enough to drink)
- 1 pound brown or white mushrooms (halved or quartered depending on size)
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
- 2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
- 1/4 cup brandy
- 32 ounces beef stock (home-made or I like Wolfgang Puck’s - organic)
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1/3 cup cup e.v. olive oil
- chopped parsley (for garnish)
- Garlic Croutons (for garnish) (see below)
- Mix flour with salt, seasoning salt and pepper. Toss meat in flour to coat completely.
- Heat olive oil over medium high heat and add coated meat. Toss and cook until lightly golden, stirring frequently and scraping flour off bottom as much as you can (add more oil if needed)– about 20 minutes. Some flour will become very brown and stick to bottom of pan, don’t worry about that – this will come off later with liquid.
- With heat still at medium high -- add brandy. Light on fire. Stand back. When flames die down, add one bottle of wine and stir and scrape flour off of sides and bottom of pan. Add beef stock, potatoes, onions, turnips and all the spices. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium/medium low and simmer for one hour. Add an additional ½ bottle of wine. Cook for another ½ hour. Add mushrooms and last ½ bottle of wine. Cook for aprox. 3 hours more, or until sauce is thickened. Stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile make garlic croutons.
- When sauce has thickened stir again completely and press the turnips against the side of the pan to crush them (you will know them because they are much smaller than the potatoes and are slightly translucent). This will help to thicken the sauce more and will give the sauce an earthy slightly sweet flavor (but not overly sweet...)
- Remove bay leaves and thyme stems. Garnish with Garlic Croutons and parsley and serve. Enjoy!
For the Garlic Croutons:
- 2 – 5” round day old rustique bread (or whatever day old bread you have on hand – but rustique and sourdough work best) Cut into ¾ inch cubes
- 2 cloves garlic – crushed
- sprinkle of salt
- 2 tablespoons good quality e.v. olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Melt butter and olive oil over medium heat in medium pan. Add bread cubes and a sprinkle of salt and stir and cook until lightly golden.
- Remove from heat and add crushed garlic, stirring to toss and coat.
- Remove from pan immediately to plate so garlic won’t burn and become bitter.
- Let cool.