Right now, and presumably for another month or so, New York City is experiencing perfect weather. It’s chilly early in the mornings and at night, but still warm and often sunny in the afternoons. It’s a good time for light sweaters and cardigans but there isn’t yet need for a jacket. I don’t know about you (and feel free to share in the form of a comment) but this type of weather makes me painfully nostalgic; and hungry for warm, rustic foods. Like this stew.
Although the cooking time is approximately two hours, they are mostly inactive, so you don’t have to worry about over-working yourself…
(Yield: 4-6 servings)
2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 lb “stewing” beef, cut into 1″-cubes
3/4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried thyme
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 tsp tomato paste
1 c water
2 dried bay leaves
3 russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1″-cubes
2 large carrots, peeled, chopped
1 tbsp flour
Salt/freshly-ground black pepper
Heat the oil over high heat in a heavy-bottomed, large pot. Rinse beef cubes and pat dry with paper towel. Season beef with chili and thyme, and salt and pepper. Sear in oil, in two separate batches (do not over-crowd pot!), for about 2 min per side – just to caramelize the outside. Add onion, garlic, bay leaves and tomato paste. Stir and cook until onion is translucent, about 4 min. Add water and bring to boil. Cover tightly with lid, turn heat down to low, and let cook for 1 hour.
After 1 hour, add potatoes, carrots and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir. Cook for another 40 min, or until vegetables are soft. Stir in flour. Cook for another min. Turn heat off, remove bay leaves, and re-season if necessary.
Make extra stew if you like – it tastes even better on the second and third days.