2 lb(s) (1 kg) of stewing beef, cut in large cubes
A sprinkle or two of salt and lots of freshly ground pepper
2 large onions cut in 8
1 heads of garlic, peeled and chopped
2 lb(s) (1 kg) of any fresh mushroom assortment (button, Cremini, Portobello, Enoki)
1 bottle (750 ml/25 oz) of any hearty red wine
1 5 ½ oz can (154 ml) of tomato paste
1 Tbsp (15ml) or so of dried rosemary
A couple of bay leaves
1 Tbsp (15 ml) of any vinegar
1. Preheat a large thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Pat the beef pieces dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper.
2. Add a splash of oil to the pot and toss in enough meat to make one single layer. Patiently sear the meat on all sides, turning with a fork to ensure all sides are nicely browned. This step is important as it creates the all-important deep brown flavor base for your stew! Repeat with the remaining beef until it’s all browned then return it all to the pot.
3. Now pile the onions, garlic and mushrooms all in the pot together. Pour in your red wine and stir in the tomato paste. Add the bay leaves and rosemary and bring the pot to a simmer.
4. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and adjust your heat to the lowest possible setting that will maintain a simmer. We want all that juicy goodness to stay right in the pot. Your stew is done when the meat is tender, which will take an hour or two.
5. Finish your stew by stirring in the vinegar. Dish it up and share over baby spinach, your favourite pasta, potatoes or bean sprouts!
6. Freestyle Twist: It’s easy to bring the flavours of the world to this heartwarming stew. For a Mediterranean twist leave out the mushrooms, toss in some dried apricots, raisins, or figs and some nuts. To bring an Asian flair add ginger, green onion, soy sauce and Chinese 5-spice. And if your tastes run Southwestern some dried tomatoes, black beans and chili peppers will do the trick. Whatever your mood, a good stew is the perfect place to twist in some personalized flair!