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Beef Stew

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Beef Stew


5 pounds boneless beef chuck (not lean), cut into 2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 carrots, chopped into 1/2 inch disks
4 celery ribs, diced
2 medium onions, roughly chopped
1-2 head garlic, halved crosswise
1/2 lb of assorted mushrooms
5 tablespoons tomato paste
pinch finely chopped habanero (optional)
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1  bottle dry red wine
3  bay leaves
4 thyme sprigs
3 cups beef broth
3 cups water
2 pounds small white potatoes quartered
2 medium sweet potatoes roughly diced
Equipment: 6-to 8-quart heavy, cast iron pot

The Prep

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Pat beef dry and season with 2 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper and lightly sprinkled with flour.

Heat oil in pot over medium-high heat until meat is browned on all sides, work in 3 batches – about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer to a platter.

Reduce heat to medium, then add carrots, celery, onions, mushrooms, habanero, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 12 minutes.

Add tomato paste and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add vinegar and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.

Stir in wine, bay leaves, and thyme and boil until wine is reduced by about two thirds, 10 to 12 minutes.

Add broth to pot along with water, beef, and any juices from platter and bring to a simmer. Cover and braise in oven until meat is very tender, about 2 1/2 hours.

While beef braises, cut white potatoes into quarters and peel and chop sweet potatoes.

Add potatoes to stew (make sure they are submerged) and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender and liquid reduced, about 40 minutes to one hour.

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