We're not one of those couples that can ever finish a bottle of wine when we open it to drink at home. I don't know why, we just don't. Actually, I have a theory: I love the first glass of red wine. After that, the thrill is gone, as it were. So inevitably, we end up with 3 or 4 partially filled bottles of red wine sitting on our counter. If I don't use it for sauces within a week, then it just goes to waste and gets dumped.
But in the fall and winter, those bottles of wine go into coq au vin (or coq "faux" vin), beef stew, lentil stews, long-simmering tomato-beef ragus for spaghetti, and if I have a lot if it, into boeuf bourgignon. Traditionally this beef stew is made with burgundy, but tonight I used cabernet, a petit syrah, and a cabernet/petit syrah blended table red. I think it came out great if I do say so myself.
I made a big batch tonight because tonight is when I felt like cooking it, but we'll have it on Friday night when we have friends to dinner. (The bowl above was devoured by my husband who decided someone needed to taste it to make sure it will be fit to serve.) This recipe makes a lot because I had a lot of wine to use up. You can make it all and freeze half for another time, or half the recipe.
With a nod to Anthony Bourdain
- 8 pounds of beef cross rib chuck roast, trimmed of fat and cut into 1.5-2-inch chunks. (I buy 2 3-4 pound roasts and cut them up myself)
- olive oil
- 4-6 yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 8 tablespoons of flour
- about 4-5 cups of red wine (burgundy or whatever you got)
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 cloves of garlic
- some water
- salt and pepper
- optional: carrots
Heat 3-4 glugs of olive oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat until it starts to smoke. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Working in 3-4 batches, sear the meat until very brown on all sides. Add a little more olive oil as needed with each batch. Set meat aside. Continue searing until all meat is browned. This takes a while so be patient.
Reduce heat to medium and add the onions. Salt and pepper them and cook for about 15 minutes, until soft and translucent. Stir them often.
Sprinkle in the flour and cook for about 5 minutes more.
Slowly add in the wine stirring contantly, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil and when you can no longer see any lumps of flour, add the meat and accumulated juices back into the pot along with the garlic and bay leaves.
Add water as needed to make sure the meat is fully covered with liquid. (Don't worry, this will reduce and the stew will not be "watery.") Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer partially covered for 3-4 hours until meat is fork-tender. If you want some veg, add about 6 carrots, cut into 2-inch hunks with about an hour left to go.
It's much better the next day, so wait to eat it if you can, otherwise, dig in. Serve with mashed potatoes or boiled new potatoes or buttered pappardelle or egg noodles. Serves 8-10.