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Winter warmers

For the seventh year in a row, our roundup of beef stew standouts.

Beef Stew With Mustard and Herbs

Photograph by Jim Scherer / Styling by Catrine Kelty

Beef stew with mustard and herbs

Red wine in beef stews is common, but wait until you try one made with white. These recipes allow the flavor of the beef to stand out in a way that bolder red wine does not.

In a recipe from Provence, dry white wine complements mustard and herbs. Spain has a strong tradition of using white wine in beef stew, represented here by a simple version with onions, and a more involved one with tomatoes, paprika, and roasted peppers. Serve either Spanish stew with fried potatoes or rustic bread.

BEEF STEW WITH MUSTARD AND HERBS

Serves 6

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Adapted from Patricia Wells’s At Home in Provence.

3½ to 4 pounds beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1½-inch chunks (about 3 pounds)

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons flour

2½ tablespoons olive oil

1 large sprig fresh thyme, plus 1½ teaspoons minced

8 sprigs fresh parsley

4 sprigs fresh tarragon

3 onions (1½ pounds), halved and thinly sliced

2 bay leaves

4 garlic cloves, minced

1½ cups dry white wine

1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained

1½ tablespoons Dijon mustard

½ cup snipped fresh chives

In a medium bowl, toss the beef with 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and flour. In a large, heavy Dutch oven, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half the beef in a single layer so pieces are close but not touching, and cook without moving them until deeply browned on the bottom, about 3½ minutes. Turn and cook until deeply browned, about 3½ minutes longer; transfer to a medium bowl. Add 2 more teaspoons of oil to the pot, and repeat to cook remaining beef (reducing the heat if the drippings begin to burn).

Meanwhile, tie together the thyme, parsley, and tarragon with string and set aside. Adjust the heat to medium, add the remaining oil, allow it to heat, then stir in the onions, bay leaves, herb bundle, and ½ teaspoon salt. Cover and cook, occasionally stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot, until the onions are soft and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Add the garlic and minced thyme, and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add ½ cup water, adjust heat to high, and scrape the bottom of pot to loosen the fond. Add the wine, 1 teaspoon salt, and the cooked beef with accumulated juices. Submerge the beef, bring stew to a boil, adjust the heat to very low, cover, and simmer until beef is tender, 2½ to 3 hours. Add the tomatoes, adjust the heat to medium, and cook, stirring, to heat the tomatoes through, about 5 minutes. If stew is too thin, remove top, bring to boil, and thicken to taste.

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Remove the bay leaves and herb bundle, and stir in the mustard and pepper to taste, adjusting the salt, too, if necessary. Stir in most of the chives and serve, sprinkling each bowl with remaining chives.

Photograph by Jim Scherer / Styling by Catrine Kelty

TIP Don’t throw away the liquid you drain from canned tomatoes. Instead, freeze it for use in soups and sauces.

BEEF AND ONIONS IN WHITE WINE, OVIEDO-STYLE

(CARNE GOBERNADA)

Serves 6

3½ to 4 pounds beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1½-inch chunks (about 3 pounds)

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons flour

2½ tablespoons olive oil

4 onions (2 pounds), halved and thinly sliced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1½ cups dry Spanish white wine, such as garnacha blanca

6 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

In a medium bowl, toss the beef with 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and flour. In a large, heavy Dutch oven, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half the beef in a single layer so pieces are close but not touching, and cook without moving them until deeply browned on the bottom, about 3½ minutes. Turn and cook until deeply browned, about 3½ minutes longer; transfer to a medium bowl. Add 2 more teaspoons of oil to the pot and repeat to cook remaining beef (reducing the heat if the drippings begin to burn).

Adjust the heat to medium, add the remaining oil, heat for a moment, then stir in the onions and ½ teaspoon salt. Cover and cook, occasionally stirring and scraping the bottom of pot, until the onions are soft and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Add the garlic, and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add ½ cup water, adjust the heat to high, and scrape the bottom of pot to loosen the fond. Add the wine, 1 teaspoon salt, and the cooked beef with accumulated juices. Submerge the beef, bring stew to a boil, adjust the heat to very low, cover, and simmer until the beef is tender, 2½ to 3 hours. If stew is too thin, remove top, bring to boil, and thicken to taste.

Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Stir in most of the parsley and serve, sprinkling each bowl with remaining parsley.

Variation

BEEF STEW WITH WHITE WINE, TOMATOES, AND ROASTED PEPPERS

This is another stew with a Spanish sensibility. Of course you can use roasted peppers from a jar, but fresh peppers that you roast yourself will taste best.

Follow the recipe for Beef and Onions in White Wine, Oviedo-Style, making the following changes:

1) Reduce the quantity of onions to 3 (1½ pounds). Along with the onions add 2 bay leaves and 10 sprigs of parsley tied together with string (this is in addition to the chopped parsley at the end).

2) Increase the quantity of garlic to 10 cloves and thinly slice them. Along with the garlic, add 1½ tablespoons sweet paprika and a pinch of cayenne pepper.

3) Reduce the quantity of wine to 1 cup and along with it add 1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes, drained.

4) When the beef is tender and the stew thickened if necessary, remove the bay leaves and parsley bundle, add 4 medium roasted red bell peppers, thinly sliced, and heat them through, about 10 minutes. Adjust the seasoning if necessary, add the chopped parsley, and serve as directed.

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