Every stew has a secret. Mine… has a few.
(Yes, I am 100 percent trying to make my stew sound mysterious. is it working?)
So what are my secrets to making a thick flourless stew?
First, let me ask you this… why the heck would stew need flour in it? You guys. The secret to thickening up stew… is already IN the stew.
Confused? Let me explain: IT’S THE POTATOES.
The potatoes in the stew will thicken your stew just as well, if not better than flour. You just mash a few up right in the pot, and voila, you’ve got a thick stew.
Annnd, I’m pretty sure the chef who first came up with creating a flour-based slurry to thicken stew is rolling over in his grave…
My secrets don’t end there, remember, I told you this stew has a few.
Second secret: VINO. I don’t really care to drink wine, but when it comes to cooking, give me allll the wine. Let me get my stews drunk. Then let me sober them up by cooking out most of the alcohol.
Why add wine to stew? There’s a reason (unlike adding flour to stew which is just plain silly). Wine adds flavor to stew and because it’s acidic, it also helps tenderize meat. See that? Technically two reasons to get your stew drunk.
My favorite wine to use when making stew? Merlot. I love the flavor it adds but truthfully, if I’m in a pinch I’ll use whatever wine I have on hand.
Okay, now for my third secret to making the perfect bowl of beef stew… drumroll please…
THE SPICES. That includes the spicy serrano pepper. And the combination of salt, pepper, oregano, cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg.
Can we be any more seasonal with these spices?
The result: a steaming bowl of coziness.
This simple beef stew isn’t your ordinary humble beef stew. It has more kick… more flavor… more of that mysterious stew oomph.
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 pound beef stew meat
- 1 onion diced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 serrano minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon oregano
- Big pinch of nutmeg
- ¼ cup red wine
- 4 – 6 cups beef or chicken broth* divided
- 3 large carrots chopped
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 4 gold potatoes cubed
- Cilantro optional
- Heat the oil in a dutch oven over high heat.
- Add the beef and sear on all sides for about 5 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions, garlic, serrano and saute for another 5 minutes.
- Add the spices, stir for a minute, then add the red wine and deglaze the pan.
- Next, add 4 cups of broth, bring the pot to a boil then reduce to low heat. Cover and cook for 1 hour, checking the pot at the halfway mark. If the broth has reduced too much, add the remaining broth.
- Give the contents of the pot a stir, then add the carrots, celery and potatoes to the pot, cover and cook for 30 more minutes.
- To thicken the stew, mash some of the potatoes right in the pot and mix well.
- Garnish with cilantro if desired.