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Honestly, I only make beef stew because I love mushy carrots. Fork-tender beef is nice, but to me, one of the best parts of a cozy braise is its relationship with the veg, which become tender and saturated with the rich umami juices of the stew. This recipe has become my go-to for staying cozy at home with quasi boeuf bourguignon vibes, but a bit simpler. While I still render bacon fat to sear the beef in (because you’re worth it), I go heavy on red wine and vegetables to simmer down before thickening the whole thing with cornstarch for body. Served over mashed potatoes, a bowl of this stew will keep you going back for more again and again.
- 4 slices bacon, thick cut, chopped
- 2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1½-inch pieces
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Black peppercorns, freshly ground
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 cups red wine
- 4 cups beef stock
- 1 pound baby potatoes, halved
- 1 pound carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 pound cremini mushrooms, quartered
- 6 sprigs thyme, tied with butcher’s twine
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
In a large Dutch oven, add bacon over medium-high heat and cook until rendered and golden brown, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Sear the beef, working in 2 batches and turning as needed, until golden brown, 8-10 minutes. Transfer the beef to the plate with the bacon.
Add the onion to the pot and cook until softened and caramelized, 4-5 minutes. Pour in the wine and stir, scraping up any fond that has developed on the bottom of the pot. Cook until reduced slightly, 2-3 minutes.
Add back the seared beef and rendered bacon with the stock, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, covered, until the beef is tender, 2 hours.
In a small bowl, whisk cornstarch with 3 tablespoons water until smooth, then stir into stew and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then divide between bowls and serve with mashed potatoes.