March is quite possibly my favorite month in Washington. It’s filled with rain and snippets of sun — perfect rainbow weather. But it’s still chilly, and that makes me want to cook warm, hearty meals for dinner. I love to braise an entire meal in the oven, or in the slow cooker while I am at work so I can come home to a heavenly smell and delicious supper ready to serve my family. This stew is perfect as is, or spooned over creamy mashed potatoes or a bed of steamed white rice. And it’s simple.
Classic Oven-Braised Beef and Tomato Stew
- 2 pounds chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes
- 2 to 3 tablespoons oil, suitable for frying
- 5 strips thick center-cut bacon, diced
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 2 cups cremini mushrooms, cleaned
- 2 cups young spring carrots, roughly chopped
- 1 cup parsnips, roughly chopped
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 2 to 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 2 cups red wine
- 2 cups water or low/no sodium beef stock
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Brown meat in batches over medium to medium-high heat in oil until each side is golden brown and caramelized, but not cooked through. Set aside.
- Add bacon and onion to the pan; brown for 5 to 7 minutes over medium heat. Add the veggies and seasonings and cook for about 5 minutes, then add the tomato paste to coat everything.
- Return the meat and its juices back to your oven-safe pot, and mix everything together. Use the wine and stock and deglaze the pan, and add the goodness to the main ingredients.
- Add the rosemary and bake with the lid on for 3 to 5 hours. (This stew is done at 3 hours, but tastes better the longer it spends in the oven.) Check halfway through cooking to check the liquid in the pot, and add water at 1 cup intervals if needed while it braises.
Note: You can also add all of the ingredients into a crockpot and simmer it all day long on low heat.