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Wednesday, November 10, 2010


A few  years ago I made a spectacular dinner for my husband and my sister.  The said it was the one of the best meals that they have ever eaten!  Wow, what a compliment huh?!?!?  The reason why it is so easy for my husband to remember is that I made it for one of the Pittsburgh Steelers playoff games.  I just have to bring up that game and he will remember the dinner I made.  This year to celebrate a bunch of family birthdays that take place in October I made this meal again.  The dinner was Beef Stew w/ Red Wine & Carrots, Brussel Sprouts Braised w/ Pancetta, Shallot, Thyme & Lemon, Mashed Potatoes & my Fall Salad.  I was thinking ok it is mid October.  The temp. should be at least 50 degrees or less right?!?!?  WRONG.  It was 75 degrees out and my house was burning up since the stew has to be in the oven for at least 2 or so hours.  Everyone still loved it and again this dinner was a hit.  I will post the Brussel Sprouts Braised w/ Pancetta and also my Fall Salad on later posts, because those are a must have in your fall recipe repetoire.


  • 1  3 lb boneless beef chuck roast (or high grade beef for stew...this is a must)
  • 2 TB. olive oil
  • 2 slices thick cut bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 8 oz. shallots (about 8 to 10 medium sized shallots) - thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 2 TB. brandy
  • 2 TB. tomato paste
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. herbs de Provence
  • 2 cups hearty red wine
  • 1  14.5 oz. can whole , peeled tomatoes
  • 4 strips orange zesst ( I would recommend to cut this down to 1 strip.  If you use all 4 it will get really orangey in flavor), strips should be 2 1/2 inches long - can be peeled with a vegetable peeler)
  • 1 lb. large carrots cut into 2-3 inch chunks ( the carrots must be big in size so they do not get mushy in the long cooking process).
  • 1  12 oz. can of beef broth (may need more if too dry)
  • 1/4 cup coarsly chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  1. If using a beef roast; using your fingers and  thin knife, pull the roast apart along its natural seams.  Trim off any thick layers of fat.  Carve the roast into 1 1/2 to 2 inch cubes.  Arrange them on a paper towel lined tray to dry (if you don't dry them properly they will  not brown properly.)  If using meat already cut into pieces pat them dry on paper towel lined paper.
  2. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven.  Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.
  3. Heat the oil and bacon together in a 7 - 8 quart dutch oven over medium heat, stirring occasionally, just until the bacon is browned, but not crisp, 5 to 6 minutes.  With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a small plate. 
  4. Season about 1/3 of the beef with salt and pepper, and arrange the cubes in a sparse single layer in the pot to brown.  Adjust the heat so the beef sizzles and browns but does not burn.  Cook until all sides are a rich brown, a total of about 10 minutes.  Transfer to a large plate.  Season and brown the remaining beef in 2 or more batches.
  5. When all the beef is browned, pour off all but about 1 TB. of drippings (in necessary).  Set the pot over medium high heat, add t he shallots, season with a large pinch of salt and several grinds of pepper, and saute until they just begin to soften, about 1 minute.
  6. Add the brandy and let boil.
  7. Add the tomato paste, garlic and herbs de provence, stirring to incorporate, and saute for another minute.
  8. Add the wine, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to dislodge the caramelized drippings, and bring to a boil again.
  9. Pour in the liquid from the tomatoes, h olding the tomatoes back with your hand.  Then one by one, crush the tomatoes with your hand over the pot and drop them in.
  10. Add the orange zest, and return the beef (along with accumulated juices) and bacon to the pot.
  11. Add the carrots, bring to a simmer, cover and slide into the oven.
  12. Cook the stew, stirring every 1/2 hour (at these stirring points you can add the beef broth to add some extra liquid.  The recipe did not call for it, but I find it gets way too dry without the addition of beef broth).  Cook until the  meat is fork tender (taste a piece, all trace of toughness should be gone), 2 to 3 hours. 
  13. Before serving, skim off ay surface fat (if there is any), taste for use of salt and pepper, and stir in the parsley.
* Serves 6
** Recipe Courtesy of "Fine Cooking' magazine.

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