Rich Beef Stew with Bacon: Prepare It in the Oven
A few thoughtful additions elevate this dish beyond the average beef stew. The steps are simple and every ingredient serves an important purpose -- see this beef dinner recipe come together!
In a lot of ways, this is based on my mother's stew that I ate growing up. But I do something different. Instead of the small pieces of beef stew, I like to cut big chunks of meat. I think it cooks better. You get wonderful texture, and I think it has a lot more flavor in it. Use kosher salt and season really heavily, about a tablespoon or so of salt. Get it on all sides. If you can, I like to season this a day or so ahead, and let sit in the refrigerator so the seasoning goes all the way through the meat. So, the next step is probably the most important part in the whole recipe, and that is browning the meat. In the skillet, I browned out some bacon, set the bacon aside, and I blew up some bacon fat in there, put a little bit of olive oil. And over medium high heat, we're gonna take our time and brown this really, really well. So, now, we're gonna pour all of the cooking grease, but I wanna save all those brown bits in the bottom of the pan. And we're gonna put just a little bit of butter back into the pan, add some chopped onion to the pan, then I add some garlic. And you're just cooking this until it gets soft. You're not trying to brown it. You just wanna soften it and clean up all those good brown bits off the bottom of the pan. So, now, I'm gonna start adding some flavor. I got this great brown bacon, and we'll sprinkle it in here, and some fresh bay leaves, a little bit of dried thyme over the top. And a few dabs of tomato paste for some added richness, pour some red wine to the pan and cook it down by about half, and then pour it over the meat. And then, just enough broth kinda nearly to the top of the meat. You don't wanna cover the meat completely. Another great thing about this recipe is once you get it put together, you just stick it in the oven, and let it go. And I like to do a little surprise and put prunes and some roasted squash in there as well, which adds an unexpected sweetness. Personally, I think it tastes a lot better the next day or even two days later, reheat it slowly. Rich [unk], this is one of my absolute favorite dishes in the world.