Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Craig Claiborne's Beef Stew

Yield:  8 servings

Time: About 2 hours

It would be hard to find a simpler meal than Mr. Claiborne’s hearty beef stew, which goes beautifully with buttered noodles and a stout glass of red wine. A small scattering of cloves adds a floral note to the gravy, augmented by just a little thyme, and the combination pairs beautifully with the carrots you add near the end of the cooking process, to prevent them from going mushy in the heat. Sprinkle chopped parsley over the finished dish, of course, a nod to the past that rewards in beauty and flavor alike.


  • 4 pounds lean, boneless chuck steak
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped onions
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 4 cups dry red wine
  • 2 cups water (or beef stock) 
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • 6 sprigs parsley, tied in a bundle
  • 6 large carrots, about 1 1/2 pounds, trimmed and scraped


  1. Cut the meat into two-inch cubes.
  2. Using a large skillet, heat the oil and add the beef cubes in one layer. Add salt and pepper and cook, stirring and turning the pieces often, for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 10 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and stir to coat the meat evenly.
  4. Add the wine and stir until the mixture boils and thickens. Stir in the water. Add the cloves, bay leaf, thyme and parsley. Cover closely and simmer for one hour.
  5. Meanwhile, cut the carrots into one-inch lengths. If the pieces are very large, cut them in half lengthwise. Add them to the beef. Cover and continue cooking for 30 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. Serve the stew sprinkled with chopped parsley.

NOTES from other cooks

Trust your instincts on this one. Cook the beef in batches, cook the onions and garlic alone and then add the flour to the onions and cook to make a well browned roux before returning the beef to the pot. Allow most of the alcohol to cook off after adding the wine as it thickens. I went for adding rich flavor and used a cup of beef stock in place of the water.

I made the following changes to the base recipe:
I used 3 cups of wine (cab sauv) and 1 cup of beef stock
I let the alcohol burn off for quite a while (maybe 15+ mins)
I roasted some mushrooms and added them when I added the water
I cooked the whole thing about 30-60 mins longer than directed
I added potatoes and celery when there was 30 mins left
I added some extra thyme at the very end

Add fresh cranberry beans at the same time as the wine.

Add dumplings on top.

Serve this over mashed potatoes.

Add some tomato paste and more liquid if it's too thick.

Use a DASH of cloves, rather than whole cloves.


from New York Times Cooking

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