Beef Stew: The Little Black Dress of Dinner

beef stew

Beef stew is one of those chameleon dishes.  It’s homey enough for tonight, when the wind is whipping and the snow is falling and all I want to do is curl up on the couch and keep my toes toasty.  But it also works wonderfully for dinner parties, since it keeps very well warming on the stove, and looks awfully fancy in pretty bowls.  Kids love it, dogs love it, I love it.  It’s my little black dress in the kitchen, as it pretty much works for any occasion. 

And there are a million variations on the theme.  I’m a big fan of the classic Boeuf Bourguignon, of course.  And who can resist a hearty Irish stew, chock full of potatoes and served with a Guinness? I love to dress up beef stew occasionally with smokey chipotle chilis and a pinch of cumin.  But for a weeknight, this Chianti Beef Stew is my go-to comfort food.  Rich, deep wine flavor and tender chunks of beef melt in your mouth.  And the noodles are a must.  The gravy coats the pasta, stretching the flavor, extending the pleasure. 

Chianti Beef Stew

Serves 4

4 ounces pancetta, chopped (you can substitute bacon)

1/2 cup sliced onion (about 1/2 a medium onion)

1 tbsp minced garlic

1/4 cup chopped carrots (about 1 medium carrot)

salt and pepper

2 tablespoons butter

1 pound beef chuck, cut in 1 inch cubes

2 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon tomato paste

3 cups Chianti (or other red wine)

1 cup beef stock

12 ounces egg pappardelle or egg noodles*, cooked according to package directions

3 tbsp shaved parmesan cheese

In a large pot over medium heat, cook the pancetta until crisp.  With a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.  Add the onion, garlic, and carrots to the fat in the pot.  Add salt and pepper and cook until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Remove the vegetables to a dish and set aside.  Add the butter to the pot.  In a small bowl, toss the beef with the flour and salt and pepper.  Add the beef to the pot.  Cook, undisturbed, for two minutes to allow the beef to brown.  Move the beef around for a minute or two to allow for some browning on all sides, but do not cook through.  Stir in the tomato paste and cook one more minute. Add 1/4 cup wine to deglaze and stir, scraping the bottom of the pot to bring up all of the caramelized bits.  Add the remaining wine and broth.  Stir the pancetta and vegetables back into the pot.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring every so often, for 45 minutes to an hour.  Serve the stew over pasta and topped with cheese.

* I typically buy fresh papardelle at DePasquales Pasta Shop a few streets over, but given the blizzard conditions, I improvised with a bag of simple egg noodles, and turns out, egg noodles are a very tasty stand-in!

Published in: on January 12, 2011 at 2:24 pm  Comments (23)  
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23 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This beef stew is exactly what I need right now. I feel like I am coming dow n with a cold and just want something warm and cozy to eat! Send me some, pleaseeee! 😉

    • I think it might be cold by the time it gets to you! But I do wish you could smell it, it’s SO yummy.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by delectablediary. delectablediary said: RT @CozyDelicious1: Looking for a cozy dinner for this snowy evening? How about Chianti Beef Stew? New Blog Post: […]

  3. Hi Katie! First of all, thanks for visiting The Spice Garden. That tart is totally tasty … thanks for commenting. Also, in reading your profile, I see that you started blogging Cozy, Delicious at about the same time that I started Spice Garden. What a nice coincidence … I’ll be back to visit and will probably snag your beef stew recipe. It’s fancier than the one my mother (and I) make, but boy, looks terrific! I’ll need to make some bread first for dunking in that rich gravy!

  4. Could the timing for this bowl of loveliness be any better? I think not! Looks so, so good. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I love your black dress.Could anything be better than this bowl on a cold evening.I love the flavors in this dish..very new to me but look yum.

  6. What a lovely versatile recipe! And I suppose you could use whatever wine you have open at the time or beer! 🙂

  7. I just love a good stew this time a of year, and yours looks right up my alley!

  8. Yum, I adore beef burgundy, almost any version of beef stew! Right now it is about 5 degres and snowy!

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  9. I agree with the comparison; you brought me back instantly with this post to a delightful dinner that some French women fixed for us in some college professor’s house in San Luis Obispo california; the fact that I remember the boeuf bourguignon to this day must tell you how memorable that stew is! perfect for cold weather too.

  10. Love beef stew…esp. in those cold snowy days. It’s just too comforting and good to miss.

  11. Very flavorful and yummy stew perfect for the colder night! Thanks for visiting my site and leaving your lovely comment, will be back to check your next post….

  12. Beef stew is a perefect treat for this cold winter. I love how your is very colorful and flavourful. Great job 🙂

  13. Uh…yum! Nothing better than braised meat with bacon in any form and wine, except maybe braised meat with bacon and BEER …or how ’bout just braised meat. It really is comfort food isn’t it?

  14. Oooh, this sounds wonderful and a certain someone would be SO happy if I made this for him! 🙂

  15. Oh please please please may I have a bowl? How wonderful and soul warming on these blustery cold days. I love that you used Chianti 🙂

    chow! Devaki@weavethousandflavors

  16. You need to stay out of the blizzard for sure! I was eyeing stew earlier for this weekend and this one has my favorite Chianti in it, yum and a nice amount of it I might add. Stay warm and have a great weekend!

  17. This stew recipe sounds delicious. Now that my kids are in college, I don’t always make a whole pot of stew for just myself. I think I’ll try yours and share with co workers for a cold day treat.

    Plan B

  18. Thanks for your lovely comment on my blog!! I just checked yours out, and you have a lovely writing style and great recipes! I see you live in Boston– I covet your life, haha! The Booze Hound is from MA, and he loves going back just so he can be mean and crusty like a true, hardened, Bostonia Red Sox fan 🙂 LOVE the idea of beef stew with Chianti… or really, any booze at all!

  19. This sounds fantastic, and I love the metaphor you use. I could go for a bowl of this on any occasion!

  20. This is perfect for snuggling up to – so hearty and comforting! You make me wish I had a giant bowl for breakfast!

  21. What a beautiful version of a beef stew. Looks rich, elegant, and very comforting. Perfect for the cold winter days.
    *kisses* HH

  22. I LOVE a good beef stew! And yes…like you say…love how the noodles only extend the delicious flavor! Your ingredients here just perfect!

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