Recipe of the Week: Malbec Braised Beef Stew

April 20, 2009 at 10:37 pm (Food Pairing - Malbec, Recipe of the Week) (, )


Sadly, the chill still hasn’t entirely left the air here in Seattle so we made this beef stew over the weekend.  It’s my variation on a recent Gourmet article and turned out rather nice.  It gets better overnight so plan on leftovers.  Serve with a salad and fresh made popovers … mmmm, warm savory comfort food.

Malbec Braised Beef Stew

12 servings


For braised beef:

  • 5 pounds boneless beef chuck (not lean), cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 3 celery ribs, diced
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 1 head garlic, pealed and cloves halved crosswise
  • 5 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 (750-ml) bottle Malbec
  • 4  bay leaves, preferably fresh
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 3 cups beef or veggie stock (I use ‘Better than Bullion”)
  • 3 cups water

For Vegetables:

  • 2 1/2 pounds small yukon gold potatoes, ½ inch dice
  • 1 1/2 pounds carrots, 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 pound pearl onions, trimmed and pealed
  • ½ pound green beans, trimmed


Braise beef:
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Pat beef dry and season with 2 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.

In a 6-8 quart oven safe pot, heat oil in pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then brown meat, without crowding, in 3 batches, turning, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer to a platter.

Reduce heat to medium, then add carrots, celery, onions, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, about 12 minutes.

Push vegetables to one side of pot. Add tomato paste to cleared area and cook paste, stirring, 2 minutes, then stir into vegetables.

Add vinegar and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.

Stir in wine, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary and boil until wine is reduced by about two thirds, 10 to 12 minutes.

Add broth to pot along with water, beef, and any juices from platter and bring to a simmer. Cover and braise in oven until meat is very tender but not falling apart, about 2.5 hours. Make sure the pot lid fits tight so your cooking liquid doesn’t evaporate off.  If needed, use a layer of tin foil to get a better seal.

Separate meat from veggies and broth. Puree broth with a stick blender or in batches in a food processor.

Cook Veggies:
While beef braises, peel potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch-dice. Slice carrots diagonally (1/2 inch). Trim ends from pearl onions and peel off the dry layer of skin. Trim ends and strings from green beans.

Add potatoes, carrots and pearl onions to stew (make sure they are submerged) and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until potatoes and carrots are almost tender, about 30 minutes. Add green beans and simmer another 10 minutes, until beans are crisp-tender and potatoes and carrots are cooked through.

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