Yields 6 to 8 servings
A good stew is never rushed. In fact, the longer it cooks, the better it tastes. Also, like most recipes, it needs to be tailored for the consumer, so if you like more potato than carrot, feel free to mix it up. Take your time with this one. Start it early in the day, say around 4:30 and you’ll be eating no later than 7.
The ingredients are laid out according to when they will be used, so make sure you look at the correct measurements for various ingredients (especially the salt!). As there’s nothing fast about stew, use your time between the steps to relax, read your favourite book, and contemplate the meaning of life. This stew goes great with kabocha cornbread muffins and some fresh red cabbage salad with a classic blue cheese dressing.
- 750g or so beef roast, chunked
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 5 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
- 1-2 large sweet potatoes
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Couple cracks of pepper
- 500 ml vegetable stock or a simple shiitake stock (from dried shiitake)*
- 1 can of Guinness (330ml)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt (then to taste)
- 2 heaping spoonfuls of cocoa powder
- Freshly cracked pepper to taste
*To prepare a simple shiitake stock, add just over three cups of boiled water to a bowl of 12-15 dried shiitake mushrooms. Add a pinch of salt for flavour enhancement. Cover and let sit for around 30 min. The longer, the better. You’ll need to yield roughly 500 ml of stock. Don’t worry if you’re just shy of 500 ml.
- While an oven is preheating to 220 C, prep the sweet potatoes, celery, onion, and carrots by coarsely chopping them to the desired size.** Place them in an oven safe tray, adding vegetable oil, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Toss it all together and roast uncovered for 20-30 minutes. The room should become fragrant as the vegetables near perfection. Roast for longer if necessary.
- In a very large stewing pot, pour one can of Guinness, the mushroom stock, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Add salt and bring the stock to a gentle simmer while working on step 4. Cover and turn off if necessary. Don’t boil this stock off.
- Chunk the beef. In a bowl or seal-able plastic bag, mix flour, salt, paprika, pepper. Place beef chunks in the mixture and thoroughly coat them. Heat oil in a large pan and sear the beef on all sides. The size of your pan will dictate how many batches you need to do this in. Add the beef to the stock as you finish it, careful not to add too much oil.
- Bring the beef and stock mixture to a simmer. Add the remnants of the rub to the stock, stirring well so that the flour dissolves. Simmer covered for 20-30 minutes.
- Add the vegetables along with any water or oil that has cooked out of them. It’s full of flavour. Add the cumin, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Simmer covered for 30 minutes and check to see if the beef is tender.
- Add the cocoa. Carefully stir it in. The stew will become very thick at this point. Reduce heat as low as it goes and simmer covered for an additional 20-30 minutes. Stir frequently so as not to scorch the cocoa.
Serve with a big grin alongside kabocha corn bread and red cabbage salad with classic blue cheese dressing.
** Personally, I love a chunky stew, so I keep the onion chunks big by quartering it, halving the quarters, and then slicing each of these three times.