Beef Vegetable Stew with Bacon

This is a variation on Mark Bittman’s Beef Stew with Bacon in his How to Cook Everything app.  The key things he does that distinguishes this recipe, I think, is to flavor the fat with the garlic before it turns bitter and also cook the meat in the stock for a while before adding the vegetables.  I think this allows the broth to develop better flavor for the vegetables to absorb. I made a few changes to make it gluten free, added some different vegetables and used a combination of red wine and homemade chicken broth because I did not have beef broth – I actually like it better with the chicken broth; it doesn’t overpower the other flavors the way that beef broth can.

  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed but still mostly intact
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4-6 ounces thick cut bacon, diced
  • 2 lbs. Stew meat (I buy a chuck roast, trim it and cut it into bite sixed cubes)
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 cups red wine – barolo, cabernet or any full bodied red
  • 1 cup stock – beef, chicken or vegetable
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fresh chopped thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 3 large carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • ½ teaspoon basil
  • Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped fresh parsley for serving

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium high and cook the bacon until it crisp.  Remove it with a slotted spoon and reserve.  Add the crushedgarlic cloves to the hot fat, cook for one minute, then remove and discard the cloves.  Brown the meat in the flavored bacon fat over medium high heat, adding it a few bits at a time so that all of the meat can brown properly.  Season with salt and pepper while it is browning – it may require cooking in batches to keep from overcrowding in the pot.  As the meat browns, remove the done pieces with a slotted spoon and when it is all cooked pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat.  Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions.  Cook them, stirring frequently until softened, about 10 minutes.  Add the wine and stock, bay leaf, thyme, and beef and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

Remove the lid and check to see that the mixture is still soupy – if it seems too dry, add a little more wine, stock or water.  Add the potatoes, carrots and celery and bring the stew back up to a boil.  Then lower the heat, cover and cook for 45-60 minutes until the meat and vegetables are tender.   Add the bacon and the minced garlic.  Let cook for 5-10 minutes then adjust the seasoning.