My husband and I gave up beef for Lent, which is why one of our planned dishes for Easter Sunday, just a few days away, is this mouthwatering, toothsome, stick-to-your-ribs beef stew, which we’ve happily dubbed “Easter Stew” in anticipation of the eating of it.
Beef stew is one of those things that, if you spend a lot of time cooking, is something you develop over the years. I’ve had all kinds of beef stew, from thick “Irish” ones made with Guinness, to Spanish style ones with a generous amount of chorizos and olives.
But while we love beef stews of all kind, it’s this one that gets the top honor of being our “celebratory” dish, to be enjoyed at the culmination of a season of staying away from meat and alcohol.
And, believe me, we will enjoy this.
Easter Beef Stew
3 lbs. beef shoulder, cut into 2-inch pieces
8-9 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 large carrots, in 1/4-inch slices
1 whole garlic head, crushed
5 shallots, peeled
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 dried bay leaves (if you have fresh, by all means use it!)
1 bottle dry red wine (your favorite. Do not use bad wine)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
5 tablespoons butter
kosher salt and pepper, to taste
2 1/2 cups beef stock
1/2 lb frozen green peas
1 lb white mushrooms, halved
1 lb potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 2-inch pieces
First, marinate the beef. Place it in a large container, add 6 sprigs of thyme, carrots, garlic, shallots, cloves, peppercorns, bay leaves, and wine. Mix well, coating beef well, cover and refrigerate for 4-5 hours.
When you’re ready to start cooking, remove beef from marinade, and blot dry. KEEP this marinade… you’ll be using it later.
Heat evoo and butter and 2 sprigs thyme in a heavy-bottomed pan on HIGH heat. Remove thyme after a few seconds, and add the beef. You want to brown it evenly on all its sides. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Add the marinade back to the beef, and stir well. Then add beef stock, bring to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, until it starts to thicken (15 – 20 minutes). Now, cover, put heat on LOW, and cook for 2 more hours.
After 2 hours, add potatoes, peas and mushrooms and pinch of sugar. Bring back to a slight simmer, and cook uncovered for 30 minutes more, or until vegetables and meat are tender. Season again.
Not too hard, was it? Believe me, this is the BEST beef stew ever… and will guarantee you a very Happy Easter!