Saturday, March 06, 2010

Beef Stew

I know. I was just blathering away about summer and the heat, and now look. I’ve gone and cranked my oven up for a couple of hours (!!) and made, what is known in the rest of the world as, a winter dish. Something cooked and enjoyed when it is cold out and you need some extra warmth indoors and something hearty to stick to your ribs…not something you make when the sun is blazing like mad and you feel like a roast yourself.

As fate would have it however, I live on an archipelago with no winter, and as such have never been trained in the art of “winter eating” vs “summer eating” (nor in “spring eating” or in the much longed for “autumn eating”). No. It was just plain “eating” for me. Anything at anytime. And though it could be argued that I might have waited for our much milder months at the end of the year, I can be illogical at times when my appetites are involved.

But aside from those minor personality flaws, there was another reason that brought this beef stew into being. Our local wagyu man. The charming fellow from whom I’ve been buying locally raised wagyu beef (read more here for more information). Since it is more affordable than imported wagyu, we are able to enjoy pretty great steaks (though of course not as awesome as real Kobe beef) without upsetting our budget too much. We usually get the chuck tender steak cut (from the shoulder) – it is cheaper than the more popular rib eye, but because of the wagyu’s signature marbling, still tender, fatty (in a very good way!), and delicious (if you don’t overcook it! We like our steaks medium rare). The last time we were at the market, charming wagyu man told us that he had some chuck tender in cubes, which some customers requested for soups or stews. It took us all of two seconds to snap them up.

Beef Stew
  • Olive oil
  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot (about 250-260 grams), peeled and diced
  • 500 grams beef chuck tender cubes (I used locally grow wagyu beef and it made all the difference)
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon + 1/2 teaspoon pimenton de la vera (Spanish smoked paprika)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bundle farcelettes (a Spanish version of bouquet garni)
  • 1 400-gram can whole tomatoes
  • about 1/3 of a 750 ml bottle of red wine (I used a cabernet sauvignon)
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • 2 small potatoes (about 220-230 grams total), peeled and diced
  • 1/3 cup pitted green olives

- Heat a few lugs of olive oil in a heavy based pot (oven-proof with lid) or Dutch oven. Add in onions, garlic, and carrots and sauté until onions soften.
- While the onions/garlic/carrots are cooking, toss your beef with the flour, 1/4 teaspoon pimenton, ½ teaspoon salt, and freshly cracked black pepper.
- Add floured beef to the pan, pushing onions/garlic/carrots to one side. Brown beef on all sides. By now there should be some yummy brown bits on the bottom of your pan – deglaze with a few glugs of your wine, scraping those bits up.
- Add the tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon of pimenton, and the farcelettes and stir. Add enough red wine to come up almost to the top of the meat but not covering it. Add freshly cracked black pepper, a dash of cayenne (the amount will depend on your heat tolerance) and stir once more to get everything mixed. Bring to a boil. You can bash up some of the tomatoes with the back of your spoon.
- Once it boils take the stew off the stove top, cover with lid, and stick in a 170C oven for 1 hour.
- After 1 hour, remove pot from oven and add potatoes and olives. Give this a stir, cover, and return to the oven for another hour, or until meat is tender. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed (you may need to add more salt).
- The sauce should be rich and thick and coating the meat. If it isn’t, just cook it further on the stove top again until it reaches a consistency you like.

It goes without saying; only use a wine that you would also drink. If you don’t like the way it tastes in the glass then it won’t do your dish any favors either. Then drink the rest of your bottle with your meal…or while cooking it, I won’t tell ;) As with all stews and braises, be patient and you will be rewarded. These dishes cannot be rushed. If the meat isn’t tender after two hours, then just give it a gentle stir, cover, and return the pot to the oven until it is. If you don’t have farcelettes, any bouquet garni will do.

The local wagyu fared excellently in this dish! So soft and melty with the added unctuousness only a good marbling of fat can give. C and I were won over, absolutely and unequivocally, ignoring the sweat on our brows and the incongruity of the moment…digging deep into this bowl of cold weather food on a warm summer night.

***Please excuse the quality of my was already dark and I had to rely on the lightbulb in the room instead of the natural light I prefer. It really does taste so much better than it looks --- like most beef stews :)

SOME NEWS: 80 Breakfasts is mentioned in the Blogs We Love! The is a website under the esteemed Summit Media publishing group...a huge local publishing house that is responsible for titles like Town & Country, Martha Stewart Weddings, Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, and Yummy magazine just to name a few. I'm thrilled to be mentioned!


Trissa said...

Hi Jo! If beef stew were always that good, I'd eat it as well in any weather! Not your typical beef stew it seems - does it have a Spanish influence? It sort of reminds me of kaldereta? Maybe it's the olives - a wonderful touch.

And congratulations on your feature!

Bordeaux said...

Well done on the feature! After living in Thailand I can understand eating a 'warm' dish in the heat. This sounds great and being in a hot spot right now I actually totally crave it!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A deliciously comforting stew!



Divina Pe said...

You're not alone. In this household, people would eat anything that is set on the dining table whether it's a winter dish or not, for as long as they are good. And sometimes they even come in a hotpot. Your beef stew sounds fantastic most especially with the beef wagyu. I better find him. :) Congratulations on your feature. You really deserve it.

Midge said...

Here's a fun coincidence: we just had a similar stew for dinner just this week and I dispatched with the leftovers by turning them into a simple beef stroganoff for dinner tonight! ;)

Manggy said...

That looks mighty delicious and I consider us very fortunate to not feel the need to conform to any season when preparing food. It will never be truly cold enough for full-on chicken soup weather, so why deny ourselves the pleasure, right? Trissa hit the nail on the head (and yes, I love a good caldereta), though I think a smidge of liver forcemeat in caldereta is what gives it its unique character. I'm not fortunate enough to have ever tasted Wagyu beef, but someday, hopefully.

Erin said...

I am a complete baby about the heat and go to great lengths to avoid turning on my oven during summer. That being said, I am happy it is still cool here because this recipe looks amazing and I am definitely making it tonight.


ChichaJo said...

Hi Trissa! I guess it does have a bit of a Spanish influence...since I like Spanish flavours I think they have a tendency to sneak into my cooking a lot :) I do like kaldereta so maybe I was also subconsciously channelling that!

Hi Bordeaux! Thanks! Yup...very different the way we eat in these parts (as opposed to the Western world...) :)

Thanks Rosa!

Hi Divina! I think it’s really a phenomena in countries that don’t have four seasons! The Wagyu guy is in Salcedo Market :) Thank you!

Hi Midge! Great minds think alike!

Hi Manggy! So true! That’s what I say – why deny the pleasure when we don’t have a winter (or an autumn) anyway :) The one I buy in Salcedo market is the meat of locally raised wagyu breed cattle – so the meat itself isn’t imported, making it more affordable :) I love caldereta too!

Hi Erin! Thanks! It’s hot all year in my it doesn’t matter when I cook these dishes! :) Hope you like it!

Anonymous said...

This is similar to a stew my mom used to make.I'm definitely making this. Thanks for posting this recipe. Looking forward to trying it myself. mmm!

zlamushka said...


Love the beef stew, looks so warm. Last week, the spring was supposed to come to Denmark, bt we havent seen not much of it yet. Still snow outside :-( beef stew would help for sure :-)

Anh said...

I have craving for winter food even when summer heat is on, too. It's normal I say.

Your beef stew looks and sound fabulous!

Ling said...

Joey - it was 31 deg C here in S'pore at 8pm, and hubby and I were devouring steaming bowls of a thick minestrone - and sweating buckets. Go figure!

Locally-raised wagyu? I'm so impressed. And all the organic produce you can get over there. There's certainly the space and market for these where you are... sigh :p

Anne said...

Beef stew is one dish my family unanimous love... never mind the photo... just the mere mention of beef stew makes me hungry :)

Linn @ Swedish Home Cooking said...

Ohh, I'm craving beef right now so this did not make it a lot better :p Looks like something that can keep me warm on my trip back to Sweden.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Anonymous! Hope you like it!

Hi Zlamushka! Wish I could send you some of the warmth from here…and some of this beef stew as well!

Hi Anh! Yes, I think it’s normal too :) Thanks!

Hi Ling! Haha! We are in the same boat! The locally raised wagyu is great because, although not at the same level as imported wagyu, it makes it more affordable, and accessible, to more people :)

Hi Anne! It is such a comforting and homey dish isn’t it? :)

Hi Linn! I can certainly keep you warm that’s for sure! Have a safe trip!

veron said...

In the philippines, stew can be eaten anytime? Look at adobo, isn't that a stew of some sort. This looks delicious! And congrats on your mention in

_ts of [eatingclub] vancouver said...

Congrats for the Blogs We Love mention!!

Mirage said...

The hubby has recently craved for veggies, so even though I want to try this yummy looking dish I have to wait til he says 'beef' lol. 80 breakfasts is my fave blog too! ;) (I've linked your blog to mine hope that's ok, I always thought I've linked b4 since I come here often, yun pala I type in 80b sa browser...automatic hihi)

Gattina said...

Congrats Jo!!! More good news to come! Let me bring over a bottle of sauvignon for a toast... but will leave 1/3 for this dish *yum*

MaryMoh said...

I'm still suffering from the winter cold. I wish to stay in a place like yours. Maybe I should move to your place :) I have to keep cooking warming food. Love your beef stew. Looks delicious and warming.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Veron! Thanks! Yup adobo is some kind of a stew…and if we waited for cold weather before eating stews and soups we wouldn’t be eating them ever!

Thanks TS! :)

Hi Mirage! Thank you! :) Hope you get to try it when he does say “beef” ;)

Hi Gattina! Thanks! Come on over! :)

Hi MaryMoh! Over here the food is warm and so is the weather…I have lots of warmth to share! :)

Mel said...

This is fantastic! I like experimenting a lot with food, and I have to say, winter or no winter, pop open a nice bottle of white wine and your good to go with this fab dish! good job!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Mel! Thanks for dropping by and for your nice comment :)

Junglefrog said...

Well, why not eat stew in the summer right? What are you to do if you never even have winter? This looks gorgeous really..

ChichaJo said...

Thanks Junglefrog! Since I have no winter I have no recourse...or so I like to claim ;) I can always wait for our "cooler" (relatively) months at the end of the year, but really I can't!

redmenace said...

Who says you can't have stew in the warm months. Go ahead. It looks great!

Jammy said...

congratulations on the feature, joey! and great great job of course on this mouthwatering beef stew! archie and i love beef caldereta and i bet we'll love this! maybe we will just improviseon the beef (me too far fr the salcedo market) as well as on the bouquet garni! thanks for the wine tip as well - i haven't tried cooking w/ wine yet! maybe this is a sign that i should (and i won't have the little boy taste it!) i want to have that photo for a midnight snack! at this point i can try settle for that! i'm hungry! :)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Redmenace! Thanks! Heehee…I’ll indulge myself for as long as I can stand the heat! :)

Thanks Jam! I love caldereta too…maybe that’s why I made this! I’m sure you can make this with any other beef…short ribs would be yummy here too I think, maybe also kalitiran. Cooking with wine is great, and most of the alcohol burns off when you cook it :)

katiez said...

Something else I can't get here! My list for the next US trip is getting longer and longer. Although, I have to admit I've only been hearing about sumac for the last few months I'm intrigued. And I want to meet your aunt and listen to her stories ;-))

ChichaJo said...

Hi Katiez! Her stories are amazing...and quite entertaining :) Hope you can find some sumac!

Erin said...

I loved it!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Erin! So happy to hear you enjoyed it!

nayna said...

with a stomach like mine, there's no such thing as seasonal food :)
that looks really delicious, joey!
i love hearty stews,it's one of my comfort foods -- be it a rainy afternoon or a lazy summer evening.

i'm glad you're back to writing more often (i haven't dropped by in a while). <3

ChichaJo said...

Hi Nayna! I love stews, braises, and slow cooked anything...definitely comfort foods :) Glad to be back :)

My Inner French Girl said...

Howdy! I was looking for a beef stew recipe online when I came across yours. Totally shocked to see that a fellow Pinay wrote it. Yay! Would not have thought of making beef stew in the Philippines, considering how bloody hot it is. Love your blog and will subscribe. :-)

ChichaJo said...

Hello Inner French Girl! Thanks for your nice comment! The heat should very well stop us from making these types of dishes but we love them too much :) Always nice to "meet" another fellow Pinay :)