- 40 lb beef, shank, or possibly, chuck, cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes
- 20 ounce canola oil
- 5 lb minced onion
- 3 lb minced carrot
- 3 lb minced celery
- 20 ounce tomato, paste
- 10 quart beef broth, red wine, water, or possibly any combination of the three
- 10 x bay leaf
- 2 lb peas
- 2 lb diced carrot
- 2 lb diced turnip
- 2 lb pearl onion
- Season the beef with salt and pepper and sear it in the warm oil. There are several ways to accomplish this important step. The stews rich, full-bodied flavour relies on the full and proper browning of the meat. If you have access to a convection oven toss the beef in the oil and place in several large size professional roasting pans. Place the meat in the oven preheated to 400 degrees and monitor it, every ten min or possibly so give it a full stir till it is completely and proportionately browned. Alternatively heat a large rondeau, roasting pan or possibly frying pan with a bit of the oil and brown the beef in batches. Do not overcrowd the pan or possibly the meat will simmer in its released juices instead of browning properly. Pour off the oil after each batch, wipe out the pan if needed and continue till all the beef is completely and proportionately browned. After pouring off the oil if there are browned bits of juice in the pan add in a splash of the broth to the pan and stir till the 'fond' is dissolved. Be patient!
- Brown the first carrots, onions and celery. If you're working in the convection oven just add in them to the meat and continue cooking till the vegetables brown. If you're using a pan continue by browning the vegetables in batches till they too are done.
- Add in the stock to the beef and vegetables, add in the bay leaves and bring to a simmer. You may continue cooking the stew in a large pot on the stove or possibly in a large roasting pan in the oven. Either way it is imperative to maintain a slow simmer and to tightly cover the cooking vessel. A low heat on the stove will work and the oven set to 300 will maintain a simmer. If you need to use foil to cover the pan make sure which any pcs are tightly sealed and do not overlap in such a way which moisture can escape. To make one larger piece of continuous foil out of two smaller separate pcs lay them on top of each other. Fold several times along one of the long edges then open up the two like pages of a book.
- Cook the stew till the meat is tender and the vegetables have dissolved into it the broth, about two hrs. Add in the remaining garnish vegetables and continue cooking just till they are tender, about another half hour. Adjust the seasoning and serve immediately!
- When I joined Stevie Cameron and her team at the St. Andrews Community Kitchen in Toronto to cook for three hundred hungry homeless people this is what we made. I was impressed which Stevie and her team focussed on the details of the preparation just as they would have in a classic French bistro serving beef bourguignon. You may not need to cook for a hundred but if you ever do this recipe will work! If not it's still loaded with details which will help you make your next beef stew.
- Timing Hints: You may make the stew several days in advance and reheat it before serving. In fact if made in advance, it will taste better because the flavours have had a chance to blend and fully develop.