Monday, February 15, 2010

Beef and Mushroom Stew, aka, The Perfect Snow Day Food

I'm not sure about you, but I hate the cold.  Hate it.  I was born and raised in New England, and I still have no tolerance for bitter winter cold.  So when I knew it was going to snow last week, I rushed out and got ingredients to make this deliciouso Beef and Mushroom Stew.  Actually, I made Joe run out and get the ingredients.  But I came up with the idea, so it's the same thing, right?

My obsessive need to make this stew came out of my obsessive need to read The Pioneer Woman every day.  Now that I've introduced you to it, I'm sure you are obsessed, too.  And if you still haven't gone to The Pioneer Woman, go.  Here.  Now.

Thank you, Ree Drummond (aka, the Pioneer Woman), for your wonderful Beef and Mushroom Stew.  And thank you, Google, for teaching me how much oil and cornstarch to use in substitution for butter and flour.  Because of course, I couldn't have convinced Joe to go to the store for me (in the bitter cold) if he couldn't eat the finished product.

Compromise- it's a beautiful thing.

So, here it is - my gluten free, dairy free version of the Beef and Mushroom Stew:

What you'll need:

  •  2 pounds of stew beef (you might want to cut the chunks in half if they're too big)
  •  2 tablespoons cornstarch
  •  5 tablespoons olive oil
  •  2 whole shallots, diced
  •  3 cloves garlic, minced
  •  8 ounces cremini or white button mushrooms (or portobello, cut into chunks)
  •  1/2 cup red cooking wine (or real wine- but it's up to you)
  •  1/2 can beef broth (GF) or about 300 mL
  •  Water, equal to the amount of beef broth
  •  Salt and pepper
  •  GF Pasta or rice
  •  2 sprigs fresh thyme
  •  1 tablespoon cornstarch
How to make it:

1)  Put meat in large mixing bowl and sprinkle cornstarch over it.  Toss meat with your hands to coat (don't worry about getting messy, it's part of the process!).

2)  Pour oil into heavy pot or Dutch oven and warm.  Brown meat over high heat in batches and place on a plate, covered, when done.

The meat and I got into a little tiff at this part because it kept splattering me.
Don't worry, it made up for that later.
...when I ate it.

3)  Add shallots and garlic to the pot, without cleaning (I didn’t have any shallots, so I used small onions.  They work just as well).  Sauté for 2 minutes over medium heat.
Mmm, look at all that yummy meat goodness.  Perfect for sautéing delicious onions and garlic.
I love onions and garlic.

4)  Add mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes.
Not ready


5)   Pour in wine, broth, and water, plus add a little salt and pepper, to taste.
Adding salt and pepper is really just a chance to sneak a little taste...
The more tasting, the better.
6)  Bring to a boil, and add the meat back into the pot (with all of the yummy juice!).  Reduce heat to low.

Meat, meet mushrooms.  I think you two will be very happy together.
Says my tummy.

7)    Add thyme sprigs to pot.  Cover and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes.

All ready to simmer.
Simmer well, friends.

 Bye-bye for now.
It's a sad farewell.
But we shall meet again.

 Back so soon?!
(I forgot the thyme)
((You can put in extra thyme if you want))
(((If you're feeling really thymey, that is)))

8)  After the stew is done simmering, mix one tablespoon cornstarch with a little water until there are no lumps.  Stir it into the stew and cook for 10 more minutes, to thicken.  Turn off heat and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.  The longer you let it sit, the more tender the beef will be!

Voila!  Beef and Mushroom Stew.
This picture does not do it justice, trust me.
So go make it yourself!

Recipe Review:

I first must say that I absolutely love mushrooms.  I could eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Therefore, this stew was perfect for me!  Although the beef wasn't really tender enough when I ate my first helping (I would have let it sit longer, but I was running off to rehearsal), after sitting on the stove with the heat turned off, the beef got super tender for leftovers!

But the real star of this meal was the broth.  When I tasted this broth, it was fall-on-the-ground, knock-your-socks-off delicious.  I think the reason is because everything is cooked in one pan, so all of the seared goodness of the meat is incorporated into the final product.

But really, this stew is really easy and incredibly flavorful, and you will thank yourself for making it.  A great staple means... A FULL FIVE STARS!

For next time...
I really wouldn't make very many changes to this, but you could...
  • Add a half cup more wine, a half cup more broth, and a half cup more water.  I love more broth, but you might have to check to see if it needs more seasoning
  • Add potatoes, carrots, or other kinds of veggies.  Honestly, I wouldn't because I love it how it is, but if you want to stretch it further that will help!

What's your favorite food to eat on snow days?


  1. some day soon, we shall combine out skills and create something fabulous for this blog, just you wait. perhaps ecuadorian food and thus enabling me to blog about it as well. Just think of the doors this could open for us!

  2. That sounds fantastic, just as long as it isn't too spicy! I am such a wimp when it comes to spicy.