Beef Stew with Carrot Flowers
3 pounds boneless, well-marbled beef chuck, cut into 1½ pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1½ tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups dry red wine
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups beef broth
1 teaspoon beef bouillon
2½ cups water
3 bay leafs
½ teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1½ teaspoons sugar
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into flowers (see note)
3 ribs celery, chopped
6 potatoes (baby Yukon’s), cut in half
½ lb. green beans, trimmed
2 tablespoons cornstarch, if needed
Preheat oven to 325°F.
In a medium size bowl, pat beef dry and toss in olive oil. Toss in the flour, salt and pepper and combine to coat evenly. Shake off any excess flour. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, over medium-high heat, brown meat (in 3 batches) turning with tongs (do not crowd the pan), about 5-8 minutes per batch (let sear on one side before turning). Transfer meat to a large plate and set aside.
Add in onions, garlic and balsamic vinegar, and cook (stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape brown bits from bottom of pan) about 5 minutes. Add in tomato paste and cook a few minutes more. Add beef with any juices back into the pan. Add wine, Worcestershire, beef broth, beef bouillon, water, bay leafs, paprika, oregano, basil, thyme, and sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon to loosen any brown bits from bottom of pan and bring to a boil. Cover pot with lid, transfer to preheated oven and braise for 2 hours.
Remove pot from oven and add carrots, celery, potatoes and green beans. Cover and place back in oven for 50-60 minutes more, or until vegetables are cooked and meat is very tender. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary (remove bay leaves). If the gravy needs thickening, remove 1 cup of the hot liquid. Using a separate small bowl, combine ¼ cup water and cornstarch until smooth. Mix with a little hot liquid at a time until combined and return mixture to pot. Cook over medium heat on stovetop until bubbly and thick. Enjoy!