I hope everyone is doing well and surviving the bitter cold temps – at least those of who are still in the winter season! Lately I have been very busy at work with my new position making the winter go by quickly. Surprised to learn that this weekend we are springing forward with the clocks. Always a good sign that spring is near… but I never like losing an hour! Far too much to do to lose any time. But if it means that spring is closer – I guess I can deal with it. It is a good time of year to get focus on fitness. As such as I participating in Wegman’s Eat Well Live Well Challenge at work. It is an eight week program where you set goals for number of cups of fruits and vegetables and number of steps for each day. You are divided in teams to make it more fun. It really does motivate me to get active again since I am a rather competitive person!
The recipe I have today is similar to my minestrone slow-cooked stew that I made in my slow cooker and different than my Beef Stew with a Red Wine Broth. This time I am making it on the stovetop in my braising pan with a slightly different recipe than the minestrone stew. It is always fun to take an existing recipe and make minor changes to it like adding red wine and switching russet potatoes for red potatoes. You will need either a large braising pan, soup pot or two smaller pots because you will be adding a variety of ingredients plus the cooked noodles always expand once you add them. Make sure to have extra crushed tomatoes or tomato paste to add more to the sauce. I like using a mixture of tomato paste with water since I always seem to add more and more vegetables needing more sauce. If you are adding more tomato sauce feel free to add more red wine and Italian seasonings. Below is my general recipe but I do not follow it exactly.
2-pound lean beef stew meat, cut in bite size pieces
1 large sweet onion, chopped
½ cup red wine (I use Merlot)
2 cans (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
Freshly Ground Pepper
3 cups red potatoes, diced
2 cups carrots, sliced
1 can (16 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cup cooked small soup shells
Tomato paste, if needed to make more sauce
Parmesan cheese, optional
Blueberry muffins or bread, optional
In a braising pan heat about a tablespoon of olive oil and add beef stew meat to brown. Carefully remove any excess liquid because that will impact the ability for the meat to brown. Remove meat and place on a platter and cover. At this point you have a decision to make. Most likely you will have some meat broth left – you can either leave it in the pan or rinse the pan. For this recipe I am looking for a red-wine tomato based sauce and not beef based so I remove any excess meat broth. I know some of you will cringe when you read this. Now I will add a little olive oil and the sweet onion to cook for about 5-minutes.
Add the red wine and cook for a few minutes. Maybe I have watched too much Food TV where the chef adds the wine to produce the dramatic flames shooting from the pan. But better to play it safe and since it is alcohol I turn off the flame and cool down the pan a bit by adding some of the crushed tomatoes. Then I slowly add the red wine and turn on the burner and simmer for a few minutes. Add the meat and stir into the wine and onion mixture. Add salt, pepper, and Italian seasonings, blending well and simmer for a few minutes.
Add one can of the crushed tomatoes and water blending together and simmer for about 90-minutes. Add red potatoes and carrots. At this point you might want to add more crushed tomatoes. Cook for about an hour. Add beans and cooked soup shells. Simmer for about 30-minutes.