Remember the last post of the wonderful weather. Well it’s back to the 50’s and pouring. 🙂 I love this weather. This stew was wonderful. If you don’t mind cutting up veggies, it’s totally worth the time. Leeks were not something I usually had on hand, or at all to be honest. I’ve seen them in the stores and steered around them. Same with fennel. But there was no turning back once I saw this recipe. It’s a total hearty soup, more or less the “heavy cream ” can be left out since it wasn’t in the original recipe I saw. It’s a little time consuming until the simmer part comes.
I had to look up how to cut up leeks. No lie. It happened.
This is a secret. Thyme. I have ground thyme not dried. I assume it works the same, just maybe add a bit less. I also cut up the stew beef into smaller bites so everyone gets a lot of pieces.
DO NOT DRAIN OR EMPTY YOUR POT. I know. How can I ruin my pot like this. Trust me it will fix itself. Brown the meat, but don’t cook it all the way. Add the cider in and yes, SMOKE, will happen. Maybe it’s steam but smoke is more effective. The more liquid you add the less it “steams”
after adding the liquids, add the paste and stir adding the beef and the leeks back into the pot. In person it doesn’t look so brown.
while it simmers for a bit, cut up all the veggies. I usually do this at the start so they are accessible, but knowing how much time I had to spare I waited.
add the veggies in and stir like crazy. then wait for it to boil/simmer. Let it cook for an hour or two maybe turning it down or stirring it after 30-45 minutes. I added some heavy cream. Someone told me they add corn starch and water ( Which I play with at work, and at home. ) Don’t judge, it’s pretty awesome. Then wait a little bit to let everything settle and serve. We had a loaf of french bread which was delicious when dipped into the juices.
It was really good.
Apple Cider Beef Stew
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large onion, sliced
2 large leeks, sliced and rinsed (white and light green parts)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 ½ to 2 inch chunks
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons brandy (optional) I used a shot glass and figured it would be fine. It was.
1 ½ cups cider, or more as needed
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
.Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pot, or Dutch oven, over medium heat and sauté the onions, leeks and thyme until they are very soft and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove the leek mixture to a plate.
.Season the beef with salt and pepper and sprinkle it with the flour. Place the same pot over medium-high heat, add the remaining tablespoon of oil, and add the meat in a single layer; don’t crowd the meat, you may have to brown it in two batches. When it is browned on the bottom, after about 2 minutes, turn it and brown the other side for about 2 minutes (you do not need to brown all sides of the pieces of meat). Add the browned meat to the plate with the leek mixture.
.Return the pan to medium high heat and add the brandy, if using. Scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen the browned bits. Add the cider and continue to stir, scraping up the flavorful bits on the bottom of the pan. Stir in the cider vinegar and tomato paste, then return the meat and leek mixture to the pot. Lower the heat to medium low, and cook the stew at a gentle simmer for, partially covered, 2 hours, until the meat starts to become tender.
.After 2 hours, add the potatoes and carrots, and cook for another 30 to 40 minutes until the vegetables are tender. You may need to add a bit of cider towards the end if the stew looks like it needs more liquid. I added some heavy cream or half and half to add a little bit of extra cream.