photo (1)today is the first snow in chicago, so it seemed appropriate to post my winter stew. we just retested it over the weekend and it is much lighter in texture than some stews. but I’d recommend taking the lid off for the last hour of simmering to let it thicken just enough.
enjoy and stay warm!

this stew can be great served topped with a dollop of sour cream, served over pasta, or as a chunky sauce underneath your favorite fish.

beef stew
serves 8

3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
3 lbs. beef, cubed
1 apple, peeled, cored and diced
1 pear, peeled, cored and diced
1 pineapple, peeled, cored and small dice
1 small onion, small dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup red wine
2 tablespoons dijon
3/4 cup fish sauce
3/4 cup worcesteshire
1 tablespoons sambal
2 tablespoons balsamic
16 oz. can diced tomato *
1 quart chicken stock
2 cup apple cider

  • in a large soup pot, heat 1 tablespoons oil over high heat. season half of the beef with salt and pepper and add into pot. brown the beef and remove. repeat with other half of the meat, removing and setting aside.
  • add another tablespoon of oil to the soup pot and lower the heat to medium.  add the in onion and garlic and sweat them by cooking until the onion is translucent, about three minutes. add in the pineapple, pear, and wine and simmer to reduce liquid by half. add back the beef along with the broth, cider, tomatoes, fish sauce, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, mustard, and sambal and bring to a boil. reduce the heat to simmer. taste liquid and adjust with salt and pepper. cover, and simmer until the beef cubes fall apart easily when poked with a fork, a little over four hours. adjust the seasoning before serving.

*** adding pineapple to braised dishes actually helps tenderize the meat.  i learned this the hard way one day when i was using gelatin and pineapple juice to make a gelee, but the juice never set.  i added in more and more gelatin with no luck.  finally my pastry chef reminded me that pineapple along with other fruits such as papayas and figs contain enzymes that break down connective tissues in meat.

*i always reccomend san marzano tomoatoes.  i actually did a taste test once of about 20 different brands of tomatoes to see if all the hype was true, and it is!