If you love a cozy, craveable one pot meal but don’t want to babysit it on the stove top, this classic weekend beef stew is the recipe for you!
SEAR: Check over the stew beef and trim off any excess fat. Heat a cast iron skillet or similar over moderate high heat, then add the oil & watch for it to shimmer. Sprinkle the stew beef with salt and then, working in batches, brown it evenly on at least two sides. Let the beef develop a rich, deep color before turning it over and repeating. When the beef has a nice crust all over, remove it from the heat and place it in the bottom of a dutch oven or similar pot with a lid. When you’re done, there should be a deeply hued layer of beef juices on the bottom of your skillet: this is good!
SOFTEN: Add the diced onion, celery & carrot to the skillet and reduce the heat so that the vegetables will start to cook, but not brown. Stir the vegetables as they start to sweat & release some of their moisture. As you stir, you will see some of the browned bits from the skillet release and coat the vegetables so that they darken in color. Cook until the onion has just begun so soften, about 10 minutes or so, then stir through the garlic and cook until fragrant.
DEEPEN: Preheat the oven to 300 F / 150 C and if needed, lower the oven rack so that there is enough room for the dutch oven to fit with its lid on. Scoot the vegetables aside in a spot and add the tomato paste, stirring it through the vegetables with a spatula for 30 seconds or so. Next, pour in the red wine and stir until any of the last browned bits on the bottom of the skillet release. Carefully transfer all of this goodness to the dutch oven, along with the beef. Pour 4 cups / 960 milliliters of the broth, reserving the rest for later, into the dutch oven, then add the bay leaves, rosemary, black pepper and thyme.
COOK: Place the dutch oven on the stove top over medium heat and bring to a simmer, uncovered. Pop the lid on the dutch oven and cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes, checking on it occasionally to make sure it is simmering but not boiling. If the stew gets a little over vigorous at any point, crack the lid slightly and / or reduce the heat a little.
THICKEN: Remove the stew from the oven and use tongs to pull out and discard the rosemary & bay leaves. Carefully transfer about 2 cups / 480 ml of the stewing liquid and vegetables to a blender. Blend until smooth, then return the blended vegetables to the pot and stir through. Now add the red wine vinegar, coconut aminos, fish sauce and chopped carrots and potatoes, along with the remaining 2 cups / 480 ml of broth. This should add enough liquid to just cover the vegetables. Taste and add any additional salt if you like.
FINISH: Put the lid back on and slide the dutch oven back into the oven. Cook for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and cook until the vegetables are as tender as you like, about another 30 minutes for them to have some bite and up to 45 minutes if you like them on the softer side. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.