Food52 Winning Beef Stew Recipe

Though I don't eat much red meat, I love me a good beef stew in the winter.

My Belgian Beef Carbonnade is my go to for company, but this was a close second.

This recipe won the Food52 Best Beef Stew Recipe Contest, and I can see why.
It uses a "secret ingredient" that makes it different from the rest.

Ok, so the secret is out. The secret ingredient are anchovies.
2 little fishies make this dish sing louder than your average boeuf stew.

I know some of you hate anchovies (Marie!). Stop it.
They are an umami thing here, adding flavor, breaking up in the sauce, you don't bite into hairy things, you don't even know they are there.

The only reason I am telling you is because I read the comments on the Food52 website and a few people had to use an epi pen after eating this, because they were allergic to fish.....and their hostess didn't tell them that there were anchovies (which are fish) in the dish....hence the allergic reactions.

So I'm telling you now, there are 2 anchovies in this recipe.

It's always a good idea to TELL YOUR HOSTESS that you are allergic to fish, or kiwi or peanuts. When I make a dinner reservation on the telephone now, the person on the other end asks "are you celebrating anything special? Do you have any allergies that the chef should know about?". They are also asking at the table when you order. Not a bad idea.
Don't want to be surprised later.

I have no allergies btw, just allergic to creepy people.

I am getting off track here. Let's get back to stewing.

So the recipe calls for 5+ lbs of chuck meat, that's a lotta stew.
I cut the recipe in half to serve 4-6, instead of an army.

The only thing I changed was adding peas at the end, because I needed something green and cute, and I changed the red wine vinegar to cider vinegar, which I like better in stews.

Served over paccheri, a wide macaroni noodle, and loved it.

I will post the recipe the way I made it, if you want the original recipe with the full regalia, then click on the link.

Food52's Winner for Best Beef Stew: (adapted from Food52)

2 1/2-3 pounds beef stewing meat, chuck steak, cut into 2" pieces
kosher salt & pepper
olive oil
2 leeks, washed well and cut thinly
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large carrot, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
1/2 cup white mushrooms, roughly chopped
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 anchovies, chopped
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup red wine (I used a Cote du Rhone)
2 cups beef broth
14 oz. can of chopped tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme
handful of chopped parsley
1/2 cup defrosted frozen peas

Season the beef with kosher salt and pepper on both sides. Brown the meat in batches in a 5-6 quart Dutch oven over high heat (I use a Le Creuset), about 7 minutes, adding more oil as needed. Remove to a plate.

Lower the heat and add all the vegetables. Cook for 5-10 minutes until softened. Stir in the tomato paste and anchovies and cook to melt the anchovies and distribute.

Add the beef back in, with its juices. Add the wine, vinegar, and tomatoes with juice and bring to a boil.

Add the stock to cover (you may need a bit more liquid, then add in some more wine or water). Season with a pinch or two of salt, bay leaf, thyme, bring to a boil.

Simmer, partially covered, for 2.5-3 hours until the meat is tender. Add in the peas at the last minute and stir.

Let the stew rest at least an gets better with age.

Better tomorrow and even the day after.

Really delicious over polenta, pasta, mashed potatoes or just plain!



Katie C. said…
Did you know that you can buy anchovy paste in a tube just like the tomato paste? Makes things a little easier and less waste. People that are leery of using anchovies might be more tempted to try this instead of the whole anchovy out of the can 😉
Stacey Snacks said…
Katie C.

I used to buy anchovy paste in the tube from Italy when I was young to make Caesar salad......I was scared to debone and play with the real fish!

But now, I only buy anchovies from Southern Italy in a jar (you can order at Gustiamo)....they are so mild and sweet, none of that super salty acidic flavor.
They require a little more work, but I could eat them right out of the jar.

You know how you feel about banana's? I rest my case. I love everything about this except...YOU KNOW WHAT :)
Anonymous said…
I'm feeing so sophisticated - I'll eat BOTH anchovies AND bananas!

More fishy magic in the news, sans boeuf...
Stacey Snacks said…
I love that recipe.....add in lots of garlic and a sausage link, and Henry is happy!

Anonymous said…
Righto, LOTS - 2 cloves, what are we, like, in UTAH???


And if Henry's happy, I'm happy, de-casing some snausages as I type...

:o) :o)
Foodiewife said…
O.M.G. you are the funny one! Hairy thing? I don't like anchovies, either. Except, anchovy paste is one of my favorite umami secret ingredients. That makes total sense. This is ALMOST the way I make my beef stew (humbly said, mine's pretty dynamite). I think it's the Le Creuset pot that makes the difference. Ha! Oh, I learned a trick from America's Test Kitchen. If you can can, buy chuck eye roast for stew. It's a super tender cut of beef...melts in your mouth. Beautiful stew.
Stacey Snacks said…
I buy chuck roast, or chuck cut up for stew.....I just read about "chuck eye' cut from the 5th rib. I will have to ask my butcher! They say it's a best kept secret. Go figure.

Patsy said…
Stacey, you forgot to say how good your house smells while this is cooking. If I ever have to sell mine, I'm going to cook this before I show it. Someone will buy immediately at asking price!
Natalia said…
OMG - this looks so delicious for a winter dinner!