Simple Stew Recipes

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Wine-Braised Chuck Roast with Pasta Recipe

Baby Aria's choice of meat, by far, is beef. And the more tender it is, the more she likes it. I really enjoy making one-dish meals for her. Today, I seared boneless beef chuck steaks, then braised them in wine (the alcohol cooks off during the braising process). Once tender, I boiled campanelle pasta and transferred it to the beef pot. The flavorful gravy sneaked into the cavities of the odd-shaped trumpet-like pasta, which made it more fun for Aria to eat.

I flavored the dish wth fresh thyme, clove, parsley, tomato paste. bay leaf, turnips, onions and garlic. The key ingredient, though, is drinking-quality red wine. C'est tout ("that's it!")!


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Beef Pot Roast Recipe Recipe

Beef Pot Roast Recipe

04.10.13 by Jackie

I don't know why I don't make this dish more often. It's inexpensive and so good. There are really only two meat eaters in our home, but with baby Aria growing up so fast, I felt she was old enough to try this dish. I used a fairly small cut of beef chuck, seared it to form a crust around the meat, then wrapped it papillote-style in aluminum foil, added beef stock and a few earthy vegetables around it and roasted it for a few hours.

The meat came out fork-tender; no knife was needed. And if you were curious to know if a 17-month-old could enjoy pot roast, well, Aria really liked it. She is not a big meat eater, but she does seem to have a taste for beef.

I served the pot roast with baked potatoes and creamed spinach. That's what I call pure comfort food! 

Note: Check out my beef pot pie recipe using the leftovers the next day.


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Nihari Recipe (Indian Lamb Stew) Recipe

There is a meat stew dish in every culture. The version from Indian cuisine, called nihari, is one of my favorites. I made some over the weekend with lamb shanks and lamb sirloin (my favorite), but other red meats such as mutton, goat or beef can work well. The key is to use very tender meat parts. The traditional garnish is a mix of fried onions, fresh ginger, cilantro, mint, cilantro, green chiles, sliced lemons and white radish sticks. I served it with naans which is also the standard way to enjoy the dish.

Nihari, in Urdu, is derived from the word "nihar", which translates to "morning sunrinse". Originally, the stew was usually eaten in the morning after prayers. The spicy stew is very flavorful thanks to the use of bone marrow. Interestingly, this is what gives Vietnamese phở broth its body.

My husband's aunt, Phoopi, taught me how to make it, but I first heard of the dish when I met Abbi, Lulu's late grandfather. He was a savvy bridge player and we would play from time to time. He told me that back in the days in Hyderabad, India, he would invite his pals over for an all night bridge game. There would always be a large pot of nihari waiting for them the following morning at the end of their game. The nihari would simmer overnight, tenderizing the meat and thickening the gravy. Lulu's late grandmother, Baji, would finish the dish with bhaghar, which is the final red oil layer of ghee (clarified butter) commonly used in a lot of Indian dishes. Delicious!


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Beef Stew (Boeuf Bourguignon) Recipe

Beef Stew (Boeuf Bourguignon)

03.08.10 by Jackie

Boeuf bourguignon is a traditional French meat dish that is fairly easy to prepare. All you need is a lot of patience because it takes a long time to cook for the beef to become tender and succulent. To help tenderize the meat, I added an unconventional meat tenderizer (papaya paste) to my version of this French classic. If you want to make your beef bourguignon more authentic, just omit this ingredient. I also didn't add pearl onions, as I added a combination of leeks, shallots and sliced onions to the dish instead. The usual root vegetables (carrots and turnips) are also part of the gastronomic experience.

For anyone who is a fan of Julia Child or has watched the recent movie of her life, Julia and Julia, boeuf bourguignon may seem like too much of a challenge to make at home. But it doesn't really have to be this way. I used a slow cooker to make controlling the heat during the cooking process a simple task. With this method you needn't worry about the pot overflowing while the stew simmers. It may look good in movies, but you don't want to have to clean up that mess!

I put the ingredients in the slow cooker on low before going to sleep, and woke up to the aroma of beef stew permeating every room of the house.  For the meat eaters, it's an intoxicating scent; for the vegetarians in my house, not so much. So if you have a slow cooker, try making boeuf bourguignon at home. It's easier to make than it looks, and the results are so worth the effort. And make sure that when you serve the dish to your loved ones, you start the meal with the phrase immortalized by Julia Child, "Bon appétit!"


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