Beef stew

Beef stew was a staple in our house growing up, with the primary ingredients being the meat, carrots, peas, and potatoes. I think if my mom had told me there were anchovies in her beef stew (there were not) I would have refused to eat it. However, now that I’m an enlightened, mature cook of my own, I have to say that anchovies are very often that secret ingredient that give certain dishes a taste that you can’t quite figure out. It’s that whole “umami” principle. Nigella Lawson and Cook’s Illustrated both have varieties of this stew, and I have to say it’s a keeper! Don’t tell your guests about the anchovies, and they will never know they are there. They will just think it tastes amazing.

3 medium cloves garlic, minced
4 anchovies
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons avocado or coconut oil
3–4 pounds (2 kg) chuck roast, cubed and patted dry
3–4 pieces thick cut bacon, cut into small pieces
2 large onions, chopped
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1–inch pieces
¼ cup (40 g) almond flour
2 cups (500 mL) red wine
4 cups (1 L) chicken broth
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cups (300 g) green beans (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C).
  2. In a small bowl, mash together the garlic and anchovies. Stir in the tomato paste and set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, and working in batches, add the chuck roast meat.
  4. Brown for 5–6 minutes per side, then flip over with tongs. Remove from pot and add other meat and repeat process. Set meat aside on a plate.
  5. Fry bacon pieces in the pan until crispy.
  6. Add the onions and carrots to the pot, stirring to loosen any of the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add in the anchovy/garlic paste and stir until well combined.
  7. Add in the almond flour and cook until it is rather dried out.
  8. Stir in the wine, and simmer to let the wine reduce somewhat.
  9. Add the broth, bay leaves and thyme, and bring to a boil. Add the meat back to the liquid mixture and cover.
  10. Place in the oven for 1½–2 hours or until meat is super tender.
  11. Stir in the green beans (if desired) and let cook another 5–10 minutes or until beans are cooked.

Variations—You can add to or take away just about any ingredients you so choose here. Mushrooms would be lovely in this, as would some cauliflower. The beans don’t really do much except add some color and additional carbs, so feel free to do away with those if you choose. You can also cook this stew in a slow cooker or crockpot. Follow the instructions through step 8, then in step 9 combine everything in your slow cooker and turn on high for 3-4 hours.

Tips & Tricks—As with most stews, this tastes even better after sitting for a day in the refrigerator!

Hint—This recipe reheats very well, so feel free to store some in the freezer.