This hearty beef stew is one of my favorite meals to make on cooler nights, or when I'm in the mood for some comfort food. I took a traditional beef stew, and amped up the vegetable content quite a bit to make it a bit more healthy, than just meat and sauce. Are you a vegetarian? No problem! Substitute chick peas and/or lentils for the beef, and adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Ingredients (makes 4-5 large servings)
600-800g of stewing beef, cubed (about 1.5 lbs)
2 medium sized onions, slivered or diced
200g mushrooms, quartered (0.5 lbs)
4 celery stalks, chopped
300g pumpkin or squash, cubed (optional)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium can of unsweetened corn, rinsed and drained
1 red bell pepper, chopped up
4-5 medium carrots
4-5 firm cooking potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
1 medium can peeled and chopped pelati tomatoes
300ml dry red wine
800ml beef stock
1 large tablespoon tomato concentrate
salt and pepper
Thyme, dried or fresh
chili flakes (optional)
1. Heat up some oil in a very large cooking pot, preferably with a lid. When oil is very hot, brown the stewing beef on all sides on high heat, then remove from pot and put aside on a plate.
2. In the same pot, add a bit more cooking oil, then brown the slivered onions for 2 minutes. Then add the garlic and stir-fry for another minute or so before adding the carrots, pumpkin, celery, and red pepper. Stir fry the vegetables for 3-4 minutes on high heat. Season with some sea salt and fresh black pepper, and add 1 teaspoon chili flakes if you want a bit of kick to your beef stew.
3. Add the beef cubes back to the vegetables in the pot at this point, including any juices that came out. On high heat, add the tomato paste and stir. Add any seasoning you like: I added some thyme, sweet dried paprika, and cumin. I don't measure these, but I'd say anywhere from 2-3 teaspoons is good!
4. Douse the entire contents in the pot with the red wine, beef stock, several glugs of the Worcestershire sauce, and add the entire can of pelati tomatoes. A good rule of thumb: The ingredients in the pot should just be covered all the way to the top with liquids, so no vegetables "stick out". Add more water or beef stock to adjust.
5. Place lid on the pot, leaving a small crack on the side, and let simmer on medium heat (it shouldn't be a raging boil) for about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. Now add the mushrooms and drained corn, and continue to simmer for another 20 minutes or so. If a lot of the liquid has evaporated at this point, add some more water and/or beef stock so that the stew has enough liquids to cook in.
6. Once meat is nearly tender (try a small piece, it should not be too tough anymore), add your potatoes and continue to simmer your stew. The potatoes should take anywhere between 25-40 minutes to be done, depending on the variety you use, and the size of the pieces. Just keep an eye on things, make sure there's enough liquid, and try a potato or a piece of meat now and then to see how things are going. The meat should be tender after this long cooking time.
7. Finish off with any seasoning you like (salt, pepper, hot sauce) to adjust to your taste, and serve piping hot. Enjoy!