Secret Ingredient Beef Stew is listed below for your full review, and I would love to hear what you think about it.
Secret Ingredient Beef Stew refers to the secret ingredient of anchovies, which provide umami—a stealth add-in to soups, sauces, and stews for that unique savoriness you know you like, but you can’t quite describe. Far more subtle than a pizza topping, the anchovies in this recipe boost the beefiness and meld the remaining ingredients to create one tasty dish.
Instead of serving the stew with biscuits or other heavy carbs, we chose roasted sweet potatoes as a simple complement. The sweetness balanced the acidic tones of the beef and root vegetables so well I can’t imagine making the stew without them (shown in the above photo).
Now, on to the recipe …Print
Secret Ingredient Beef Stew
About the Cook: Cara Eisenpress is the co-author of the blog Big Girls, Small Kitchen and the book In the Small Kitchen (her co-author, Phoebe Lapine, or BigGirlPhoebz as we know her at food52, can be found on page 135 with a recipe for Prosciutto and Fontina Panini with Arugula Pesto). Cara lives in New York City.
- 5 to 5 1/2 pounds beef stewing meat, cut into 2- to 3-inch pieces
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup mixed olive and canola oil
- 2 leeks, washed well and sliced thinly
- 1 large onion, diced
- 8 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 4 celery ribs, diced
- 4 ounces white mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 anchovies
- 1 cup red wine
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 cup canned whole tomatoes with juice
- 3 to 3 1/2 cups beef broth
- 3 bay leaves
- 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/3 cup chopped parsley
- Season the beef with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the oil in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven over high heat and brown the meat in batches, adding more oil as needed. Remove the meat to a plate.
- Lower the heat and add the leeks, onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and mushrooms. Cook until softened, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and the anchovies and cook for 1 or 2 minutes to melt and distribute the anchovies.
- Add the beef and its juices back to the pot. Add the wine, vinegar, and tomatoes with juice (breaking them up against the side of the pot as you go) and raise the heat to bring to a boil. Pour in the broth to cover (you may need a bit more than 3 cups). Add 1 1 ?2 teaspoons salt, the bay leaves, and the thyme and bring to a boil. Simmer, partially covered, until the meat is tender, 2 to 3 hours. Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for several hours.
- When cool, skim off most of the fat from the top. Reheat over low heat, letting the stew simmer for 30 to 45 minutes before serving.
- Mix in half the parsley and garnish with the rest.
Tips and Techniques (from the book): Make this a day ahead—its flavor will improve and you can enjoy the stew without thinking of all the dishes you have to wash.
- Serving Size: Serves 8-10
What’s up next?
Lazy Mary’s Lemon Tart, and One Pot Kale and Quinoa Pilaf, are slated next, so be sure to stay tuned!
Disclosure and review philosophy:
While I am not compensated for this review, I did receive the cookbook free of charge. It is my goal in any review to highlight what I find positive about the book; I have no desire to be critical of recipes that do not appeal to me. Instead, I offer insights to recipe steps, ingredients, and overall “feel” from the book. If what I have to say sounds good or reasonable to you, we probably share a similar taste in food. It does not make one person right or wrong, as taste is personal and subjective.
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