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Food Network Favorites: Red Wine Beef Stew with Potatoes & Green Beans

When I started testing Food Network Favorites , I thought I'd pick and choose recipes from the book at random. I've decided to change my approach, however, and work through the book in a more methodical fashion, one chef at a time. Since I've already done one recipe from Dave Lieberman, I'm sticking with him for now. This beef stew recipe is quite tasty, although I'm not sure about the green beans.

It's a straightforward approach that works well: brown the meat, soften the vegetables, mix them all together with wine, tomatoes, and broth, and simmer until tender. However, Lieberman's addition of green beans in the last 5 minutes of cooking seems tacked on to make the recipe "unique." I had a few issues with the green beans: first, Lieberman only specifies that you should use "2 handfuls" of green beans. What exactly that's supposed to mean is up to you, I guess. I used 4 ounces of beans. Second, he doesn't say to cut the beans into pieces, only to trim the ends. So you've got whole green beans lurking in the stew. Which makes it fairly difficult to eat, since it's a dicey proposition to try to balance a long green bean on your spoon full of 1-inch chunks of carrots, potatoes, and beef. If you use the beans, I recommend that you cut them into 1-inch chunks as well. Finally, I didn't really like the flavor of the green beans in the stew; their assertive snap and green flavor didn't meld well with the earthy root vegetables. If you use green beans, make sure that they are very fresh and tender. Young haricots verts are the best choice. If you can only find tough old green beans at the market, just leave the beans out of the stew entirely, as they will not soften up properly, even after a lengthy simmer.

Dave Lieberman's recipe fails to tell the cook to taste for salt and pepper before serving, so I've added that instruction to the recipe below. The stew definitely needs additional seasoning after it's done with its long simmer.

Like many stews and soups, this one tastes even better the next day. Serve with crusty bread for a hearty meal on a blustery day.

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Yield: about 10 servings

2 lbs beef chuck for stew, cut into 1-inch chunks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp butter
4 medium carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1-inch chunks
3 small onions, diced
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cans (14 oz. each) chicken or beef broth
2 cups dry red wine
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1 6-inch sprig fresh rosemary
2 medium russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 handfuls green beans, ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces (optional)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Season the beef cubes with salt and pepper. Heat 2 Tbsp of butter in a heavy 6-quart pot over medium heat. As soon as the butter starts to turn brown, add half of the beef and raise the heat to high. Let the beef sit without stirring for about 3 minutes, then toss the cubes. The beef will give off quite a bit of liquid in the beginning, but once that evaporates, the meat will brown. Cook for about 5 or 6 minutes after the liquid has evaporated off, or until the beef is a deep brown color. Remove the meat to a bowl, add the remaining 1 Tbsp of butter to the pan, and then brown the remaining beef in the same manner.

Remove the second batch of beef, then add the carrots and onions and adjust the heat to medium-high. Cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour until it is worked into the veggies and you can't see it any more. Pour in the broth, wine, and tomatoes and toss in the rosemary. Add the beef back to the pot and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce heat so that the liquid is just breaking a gentle simmer. Partially cover the pot and cook 50 minutes. Stir several times while simmering so it cooks evenly and doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.

Stir the potatoes into the stew, cover the pot completely, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes and beef are tender, about 45 minutes. If using green beans, add them to the pot and cook about 5 minutes, until they turn bright green and still have some snap to them. Stir in the parsley. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper as necessary. Serve in bowls with lots of bread alongside to sop up the stew.



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