This is one of the coziest, most ideal autumn and wintertime meals. As soon as we see autumn coming over the horizon and the slightest chill in the forecast the ingredients for this stew are placed in my Trader Joe's buggy and the bread dough is prepped. The aroma that fills the house when this stew is on is pure comfort. We make this meal as many times as is possibly acceptable in our meal planning during this season. My definition of the perfect autumn day would include this stew and this bread, preferably with autumn rain outside and a bright fire within.
Enjoy every comforting bite, my friends.
Irish Beef Stew
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 pounds beef chuck, excess fat trimmed, cut in 1 1/2 inch pieces**
freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup tomato paste
2 cups beef stock
1 1/2 cups stout beer
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 bay leaves
3 large carrots, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 large yellow onion, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 large rutabaga, cut in 3/4-inch pieces**
1 large parsnip, cut in 3/4-inch pieces**
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat in an ovenproof pot or Dutch oven. Season the beef all over with salt and pepper. Add beef in batches to pot in one layer, without overcrowding. Brown on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining beef. Return beef to pot and add the garlic. Saute 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook stirring, one minute. Add stock, beef, thyme, bay leaves, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper. The meat should be just covered with liquid. If not, add additional stock or beer to cover. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Transfer pot to oven. Bake until meat is tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
While the meat is cooking heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a deep skillet or large pot over medium heat. Add vegetables and lightly sprinkle with salt. Saute the vegetables until they brighten in color and begin to take on a golden hue, 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove beef from oven. Skim any fat on the surface of the liquid with a spoon. Add vegetables to the beef, stirring to combine. Return beef to the oven, uncovered. Bake one hour, stirring once or twice, until the sauce is slightly reduced, the vegetables are tender and the meat is fork-tender. Remove and taste for seasoning.
*original recipe via pinterest
**I usually use half the meat -- to save the budget a bit. If you use the whole amount of meat I might up the beef stock/beer amount a tad as our sauce usually ends up reducing a good bit. I also replace the rutabaga and parsnip with russet potatoes.
Sullivan Street Bread
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups water
olive oil (about one tablespoon, for coating)
extra flour, wheat bran, or cornmeal (about 2 tablespoons, for dusting)
Mix all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add water and incorporate with a wooden spoon or spatula for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Lightly coat the inside of a second medium bowl with olive oil and place the dough in the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest 12 hours at room temperature (approximately 65 to 72 degrees).
After 12 (or more) hours, remove the dough from the bowl and fold once or twice. Let the dough rest 15 minutes in the bowl or on the work surface. Next, shape the dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel with flour, wheat bran, or cornmeal; place the dough seamside down on the towel and dust with flour. Cover the dough with a cotton towel and let rise 1 to 2 hours at room temperature until more than doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 450 to 500 degrees.** Place the pot in the oven at least 30 minutes prior to baking to preheat. Once the dough has more than doubled in volume, remove the pot from the oven and place the dough in the pot seaside up. Cover with the lid and bake 30 minutes. Then remove the lid and bake 15 to 30 minutes uncovered**, until the loaf is nicely browned. Cool on a wire rack.
*original recipe via bread and wine
**I heat my oven to 450 degrees and I only bake it 10-15 minutes when it comes to the uncovered portion as my oven cooks rather hot and quick.