Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chianti Beef Stew with Porcini

Fork-tender hunk of beef from the stew.

My last "go for the gusto" turned out well, so well, that I'm going for that gusto again. This Chianti Beef Stew recipe happened to be on the same page of the latest Cooking Club magazine as the Sicilian Roast Chicken and since it's been getting colder, stew sounds damn good.

1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 lb. trimmed boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
6 large garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 c red wine, preferably Chianti, or lower-sodium beef broth
1 (28-oz.) can diced tomatoes
12 oz. new potatoes (about 6), unpeeled, quartered lengthwise
8 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 parsnips, sliced diagonally
1 medium sprig fresh rosemary
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped

Heat oven to 325°F.

Pour enough boiling water over porcini mushrooms in small bowl just to cover; let stand 30 minutes to soften.

Drain, reserving soaking liquid. Rinse mushrooms; chop. Strain soaking liquid through cheesecloth or coffee filter to remove any particles; reserve strained liquid (about 1/2 cup).

Meanwhile, heat large skillet over medium to medium-high heat until hot. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil; heat until hot. Cook beef in batches 5 to 7 minutes or until browned on all sides, adjusting heat and adding additional 1 tablespoon oil as necessary. Place beef in large overproof pot.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet; cook onions 4 to 5 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook and stir 30 seconds or until fragrant. Place in pot with beef.

Pour wine into hot skillet; boil over high heat, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from bottom of skillet. Pour over beef.

Add porcini mushrooms, reserved soaking liquid and all remaining ingredients except bell pepper to pot. (Liquid will barely cover vegetables; make sure meat is nestled in liquid.) Bring to a boil; cover, leaving lid ajar.

Bake 2 hours; stir in bell pepper.* If there’s a lot of liquid in pot, open lid more. Bake 45 to 60 minutes or until beef is fork-tender. (If liquid is thin, remove beef and vegetables. Boil liquid over high heat until slightly thickened. Return beef and vegetables to pot before serving.)

*I stopped before adding the peppers. After allowing the stew to cool, I refrigerated it overnight. The next day, I let it stand at room temperature while preheating the oven. I stirred in the peppers and continued from that point.

This tasted good. Rodney thought it ok but felt the peppers detracted from everything else. That's not surprising though, as Rodney dislikes peppers and is gradually hating even the red peppers which he used to tolerate.

The stew wasn't difficult to make but it was time-consuming. If you plan ahead, most of your time will be spent waiting for the oven to do it's thing. Like a boob, I started this at 8 p.m. on a Tuesday. Don't ask me what I was thinking because it's obvious I wasn't thinking at all.


  • porcini mushrooms: $7.99/oz
  • beef chuck roast: $4.94/2.8 lb
  • onions: $0.33/lb
  • Chianti: $8.99/750 mL
  • diced tomatoes: $2/28 oz
  • new potatoes: $2.09
  • crimini mushrooms: $2.87/0.41 lb
  • parsnips: $0.53/0.38 lb
  • rosemary: $1.29
  • red bell pepper: $1.17 

Total: $32.20 or $5.37 for each of 6 servings. Outside of the seafood extravaganza and each of it's constituents, this may be the most expensive meal I've ever made.

So will I make this again? I'm not too sure. The shopping and time put into making it set the bar really high. Since it didn't meet that expectation, the stew came up short. You know, like when someone tells you how great a movie is, you get all stoked to see it, and when you finally do, you think to yourself that you'd have been better off putting it in the NetFlix queue.  Maybe I'll try it when we have a guinea pig or two over. If that does happen, I'll skip the red bell pepper.

Now I need to figure out what to do with the leftover wine and all that extra rosemary.


Analyze A said...

You can also freeze red wine in an ice cube tray (or in any size you might use), per Cook's Illustrated. I haven't tried this.

The Cook said...

I have read that also but never tried it. My ice trays are always full of water. Lol!