Beef stew is the ultimate "set it and forget it" on-a-budget dinner. With just a little mindful prep, cheap, tough, chewy chuck roast turns meltingly tender and flavorful as it stews at a low temperature for an hour-and-a-half. Many people like to add wine to their stew, but I find that balsamic vinegar imparts the flavor the wine attempts to achieve for less money.
What do you put in your beef stew?
1 lb "stew beef" (also known as chuck roast or shoulder), cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
extra virgin olive oil
3 large shallots, sliced thinly
5 cloves garlic, smashed
1 quart beef broth
few sprigs fresh rosemary
6 new (baby) potatoes, scrubbed and quartered (skin intact)
3 carrots, peeled and cut lengthwise and then into thirds
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Toss the beef cubes in the flour to lightly coat, shaking off excess.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a dutch oven or other large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add beef and allow to cook, undisturbed, for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn beef over and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium, add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan and add the sliced shallots. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until shallots have softened and become very fragrant. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, stirring occasionally.
Deglaze the pan by adding 1/2 cup of the stock and scraping the browned bits at the bottom of the pan and stirring into the soup. Continue scraping (and adding more stock if necessary) until all browned bits have been scraped away. Add the rest of the stock, 1 cup of water, the rosemary, potatoes, carrots and balsamic vinegar. Reduce heat to low.
Cover pot and allow to cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes. After 1 hour, check the stew and add a bit more water if necessary. The stew is done when the beef is tender enough to be easily pulled apart with a fork.
Ladle into bowls and serve.
BrokeAss Gourmet caters to folks who want to live the high life on the cheap, with delicious recipes that are always under $20. Gabi Moskowitz is the blog's editor-in-chief and author of The BrokeAss Gourmet Cookbook and Pizza Dough:100 Delicious, Unexpected Recipes.
The original print version of this article was headlined "BrokeAss Gourmet"