comfort essentials: beef chuck & meatball stew

a recipe by
Andy Anderson !
Wichita, KS

Autumn has arrived and it is time for soups and stews. The days are getting shorter; the nights longer, temps are dropping, and it is time for a bit of comfort. I made this stew the other day and it turned out really good, and as with most stews, it was even better the next day. The meatballs were a last-minute addition, but they were well received. Actually, if I had added a few more types of meats and sausages, I would have come close to my Aunt Josephine’s Sunday gravy. So, you ready… Let’s get into the kitchen.

serves Several
prep time 30 Min
cook time 3 Hr
method Bake

Ingredients For comfort essentials: beef chuck & meatball stew

  • PLAN/PURCHASE
  • 2 lb
    beef chuck roast, cut into 1-inch (2.5cm) cubes
  • 6 - 8 md
    meatballs
  • THE VEGGIES
  • 1 lb
    small waxy variety potatoes
  • 4 md
    carrots, peeled then cut into 1/2-inch (1.25cm) pieces
  • 1 md
    yellow onion, cut in half, then thinly sliced into halfmoons
  • 4 clove
    garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c
    peas, if frozen, thawed
  • THE BASE
  • 3 c
    beef stock, not broth
  • 4 oz
    red wine, like a cabernet sauvignon
  • 8 oz
    tomato sauce
  • 2 Tbsp
    tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp
    worcestershire sauce
  • 3 Tbsp
    all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp
    dried thyme
  • 1 tsp
    dried oregano
  • 1 tsp
    paprika, mild or hot, but not smoked
  • 1 tsp
    mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp
    celery salt
  • salt, kosher variety, to taste
  • white or black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
  • cayenne pepper, to taste

How To Make comfort essentials: beef chuck & meatball stew

  • 1
    PREP/PREPARE
  • 2
    This is a one-pot meal. You will need a good ovenproof pot (6 quarts/5.6 liters) with a tight-fitting lid. I love one-pot meals.
  • 3
    Some stew recipes call for searing the meat before starting the cooking process, and in many cases that is a good thing (as Martha would say); however, in this case I found little-to-no difference between searing and not searing. So, we will not be searing today.
  • 4
    * Homemade Worcestershire Looking for a good Worcestershire without anchovies, or all those chemical preservatives? It is easy/peasy to make and tastes like the real thing. So yummy. https://www.justapinch.com/recipes/sauce-spread/other-sauce-spread/diy-essentials-homemade-worcestershire-sauce.html?r=1 * The Meatballs Lots of good recipes for meatballs, you can even get them at the grocer. This is the recipe that I used. https://www.justapinch.com/recipes/main-course/pork/delicious-beef-pork-meatballs.html
  • 5
    The Flour The three tablespoons of flour are to thicken the base. Not a lot, but just so it does not have the viscosity of water. In most recipes the flour is added at the end of the cooking process, and the reasoning behind this method is that long cooking times diminish the power of the flour to do its thickening thing. In a recipe such as this one, you would add about 2 tablespoons of flour at the end of the process. So, why am I adding 3 tablespoons at the start? Good question, and here is my reasoning behind my method. 1. The more you cook the flour, the more it is absorbed into the stew base, so you do not taste the flour. I do not wish this stew to taste like flour. 2. Whenever you add flour to a hot base, you run the risk of creating little lumps of flour that have to be whisked and whisked to get rid of them. It is rather difficult to whisk a stew full of veggies and meat. You can whisk the flour into a slurry before adding to the hot base; however, unless done carefully, you might still wind up with lumps. I HATE it when that happens. Adding it up front eliminates that problem and saves you that extra work at the end. 3. Because the long cooking time reduces the thickening power of the flour by about 30 percent, I added an extra tablespoon of flour to offset that effect. This method will not work in every cooking circumstance, and if you wish to reserve the adding of the flour to the end, that is totally up to you.
  • 6
    The Potatoes You want to use waxy potatoes, like small reds, or the golden variety. Do not use russets because they will break down into mush by the end of the cooking process. I am using what are called fingerling potatoes, so I did not cut them up; however, if yours are big you might want to cut them in half, or even quarters.
  • 7
    Gather your ingredients (mise en place).
  • 8
    Chop and get your veggies ready.
  • 9
    Place a rack in the lower position and preheat the oven to 325f/165c.
  • 10
    Add the meatballs and veggies into a large ovenproof pot.
  • 11
    Add the beef, then whisk all of the base ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and pour over the top.
  • 12
    The salt and pepper are tricky at this point. Add just a bit now, and we will come back later and taste for additional seasoning.
  • 13
    Cover and place into the preheated oven for about 90 minutes.
  • 14
    After 90 minutes, open the lid, stir, and do a taste test for seasoning. Add a bit more salt and pepper, if needed. I like mine spicy.
  • 15
    Cover and continue to bake for an additional 90 minutes.
  • 16
    After 90 minutes, remove cover, check for proper seasoning, and test the meat to see if it is fork tender.
  • 17
    If not ready, cover and come back every 15 minutes until the meat is yummy tender. The whole process will take from 3 – 4 hours. Most of the time, it should be ready around the 3-hour mark.
  • 18
    PLATE/PRESENT
  • So yummy
    19
    I like to serve this family style, where you put the pot of stew on the table and have guests scoop out a big ladle full. You could be a bit more on the formal side and serve it in bowls, but whatever way you choose to serve it, you should have a plate of nice fresh crusty bread handy to help sop up that yummy gravy.
  • Stud Muffin
    20
    Keep the faith, and keep cooking.

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