One of our favourite things to do during lockdown is have a campfire. Sometimes we’ll make a day out of it and watch the game or cook an outdoor meal.
One of our faves is an easy beef and vegetable stew. It’s hearty, warming and perfect for a cookout! It can be prepared and kept over a hot fire or even in a crockpot outside. Serve in paper bowls so you can avoid doing the dishes later and throw them in the fire!
S’mores for dessert, anyone?
- boneless beef (well-marbled), cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
- olive oil
- 2 onions, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 7 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1-1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 can crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- Dry red wine
- Beef broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- Carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks on a diagonal
- Parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks on a diagonal
- Small white potatoes - cut in half
- Mushrooms - cut in half or quarters
- Fresh chopped parsley, for serving (optional)
- freshly ground black pepper
Pat the beef dry and season with the salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven or heavy soup pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering. Brown the meat in 3 batches, turning with tongs, for about 5 minutes per batch; add one tablespoon more oil for each batch. (when searing the meat, do not crowd the pot. If you crowd the pot the meat will steam instead of sear - and it will look grey not brown. Let the meat develop a nice brown crust before turning with tongs.)
Transfer the meat to a large bowl and set aside. After meat has cooled slightly, mix and cover the meat in all purpose flour.
In the same pan - with all the meat drippings and goodness - add the onions, garlic and balsamic vinegar; cook, stirring with a wooden spoon and scraping the brown bits from bottom of the pan, for about 5 minutes.
Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute more.
Add the beef (covered inn flour). Stir with wooden spoon until the flour is dissolved. Add the wine, beef broth, water, bay leaf, thyme and crushed tomatoes. Stir with a wooden spoon to loosen any brown bits from the bottom of the pan and bring to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid, transfer to a cast iron dutch oven for cooking over the fire. If you don’t want to cook over the fire you can cook in the oven at 350 for 2 hours.
After about 2 hours add the carrots and potatoes and simmer or roast for about an additional hour, or until the vegetables are cooked, the broth is thickened, and the meat is tender.
Remove the bay leaf and discard, then taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
Garnish and serve with horseradish, if desired.