November has been down right nasty here in Seattle. Its been windy. Its been rainy. It is the kind of weather that makes you want to crawl back in bed and not get out until June or maybe even July considering Seattle’s track record. But alas that is not a possibility. Instead, when the weather turns dismal, I turn to making beef stew. Beef stew with red wine to be exact. Its full of tender beef, veggies, beef broth and red wine. It is a combination that will warm your home as well as your bellies.
I’d like to say that beef stew has always been one of my favorite foods. But I can’t. Actually, growing up I hated the stuff. It may have been the vegetables, combined with a little pre-teen rebellion but whenever my mom said we were having stew for dinner my response would be “Ugh. Who would want stew? Can we go to McDonald’s instead?” Yes, at one point in my life I thought McDonald’s was better than homemade stew that had simmered on the stove all day until the beef was tender and scrumptious. I am proud to say that that taste challenged child turned into an adult who happens to love beef stew and all of the veggie goodness that goes along with it. That is not to say that you won’t find me in a corner hording a piping hot order of McDonald’s fries from time to time. Everyone has their guilty pleasures right?
In a resealable plastic bag combine flour, salt, black pepper and garlic powder. Add in stew meat, seal bag and toss to coat.
Heat olive oil in a dutch oven or other large soup pot over medium heat. Add beef and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, cook for 30 seconds.
Stir in beef broth and red wine. Be sure to scrape up all of the flavor bits from the bottom of the pot. Add in bay leaves. Turn heat to medium-low and simmer for 2 hours, skimming fat and foam occasionally.
After two hours, stir in celery, carrots and diced potato. Cook for 25-30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Dissolve cornstarch in cold water to make a slurry. Pour slurry into stew. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 more minutes. Broth will thicken.
Ladle into soup bowls and serve hot.