Beef Stew

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By Joan MacIsaac


Makes 8 servings


2 beef bones

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 pounds stewing beef cut into

  1- to 2-inch pieces: shoulder or chuck

1 pound short ribs

Salt and pepper

Water for deglazing


2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1½ onions, peeled and julienned

½ onion studded with 4 whole cloves

6 garlic cloves, smashed


1 bottle of red wine

½ bunch of fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

2 Tablespoons tomato paste


1½ cups canned tomatoes, chopped

1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 1½-inch pieces

1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1½-inch pieces

1 pound potatoes peeled and cut into 1½-inch cubes

Salt and pepper as needed


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Place the beef bones on a baking rack and roast the bones until they are browned, about 40 minutes.

3. Rub the stew meat and the short ribs with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4. Heat a large sauté pan on high and add half of the beef, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Sear the beef for 3 minutes and flip to the reverse side. Sear for 2 minutes and transfer the browned beef to a large soup pot or braising pan. Deglaze the pan by adding a splash of water to the pan scraping up any caramelized pieces with a wooden spoon. Add the deglazing juices to the seared beef. Repeat the process with the remaining beef.

5. Using the same large sauté pan heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the julienned onions and garlic cloves and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes. Lightly brown the onions and transfer to the soup pot or braising pan of beef.

6. Add the roasted beef bones, the half onion studded with cloves, wine, tomato paste, thyme, bay leaves and peppercorns to the soup pot or braising pan and stir to dissolve the paste. Bring the stew to a boil and reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cover the stew and simmer for 1½ hours. Some fat and oil will have accumulated on the surface of the stew. Use a wide-mouthed ladle to skim the surface and discard.

7. Add the diced tomatoes, parsnips, carrots and potatoes

and continue cooking the stew for 1 hour. Skim the surface of the stew removing as much visible grease as possible.

8. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the vegetables to a serving bowl and cover to keep warm.

9. Check the meat for tenderness. If the meat is not falling off the bone and easy to pull apart with a fork, continue simmering the beef for up to 30 additional minutes. When tender season the stew with salt and pepper to taste.

10. Pour over the warm vegetables and serve.