One of the nice things about doing my own cooking is that I can do whatever I like with recipes, being careful about the quality of the ingredients, and substituting and adding ingredients to my heart’s content. For example, beef stew is usually made with russet potatoes, carrots, and celery – and after cooking for a while the end result is usually bland and mushy.
I decided to go in another direction – I used lentils, then roasted root vegetables separately, and added them at the end (along with kale, which I received again this week in my veggie box). I based my recipe on one for Beef Barley Soup from the New England Soup Factory Cookbook. If you want a basic Beef Barley Soup, this is a great recipe. I got the idea to add roasted root vegetables to a stew when it was almost done cooking from a recipe posted on Nadia G’s “Bitchin Kitchin'” website.
The recipe here combines elements from both of these, along with changes I made to suit my own tastes. This takes quite a while to cook, but makes a big batch with lots of leftovers.
In a large stockpot combine:
- 3 pounds beef, cut into into 1/2-inch cubes (I prefer to use higher-quality meat than stew meat; when I made this I used organic strip steak)
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp. kosher salt (I recently found coarse kosher sea salt that I like)
- 8 cups water
Bring this to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer (skimming any foam from the surface) for about 1 hour, until the meat is very tender. Remove beef and discard any remaining cooking liquid.
In the meantime, preheat your oven to 375 degrees, and place on a foil-lined rimmed cookie sheet:
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 2 baby turnips, quartered
- 5 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 red onion, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
Toss vegetables with about 1 Tbsp. olive oil and 1 tsp. kosher salt. Bake until tender – about 15 minutes for the onions; keep checking the other vegetables until they are tender when pierced with a sharp knife. The parsnips will probably take the longest to cook. When they are done, remove from the oven and set aside.
Once the beef is done cooking, wipe out the stock-pot, add 1 Tbsp olive oil. When the oil is shimmering add to the pot:
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
Cook the onions and garlic, until the onion is starting to get translucent (about 5 minutes). Add:
- 1/2 cup tomato paste (I use Amore brand, which is double-concentrated and comes in a tube)
- 1 cup red wine
- stewed beef
- 6 cups beef broth or stock (be sure to read the label carefully – a lot of brands have a lot of extra ingredients and preservatives)
- 2 bay leaves
Bring to a boil, then add:
- 1 cup green or brown lentils, picked over and rinsed.
Simmer for about 45 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Then stir in:
- About 4-ounces thinly-sliced kale
- Roasted vegetables
- 1 tsp. Worcestershire
Simmer for another 5-10 minutes, adding additional beef broth if necessary, until the kale is tender.