I am not a fan of the current weather situation. Bitter cold one day, warm and rainy the next. My wardrobe is suffering, but even worse, my dinners are suffering. When it is cold outside, I want something comforting. Still...beef stew in March seems wrong somehow. Even so, beef stew is one of Mark's favorite dinners so I made it for him last night while we watched his beloved UNC Men's Basketball team play. I called this Provencal because I used Pinot Noir (because I had half a bottle opened from last week) and Herbs de Provence. Herbs de Provence is a fantastic herb blend that has lots of thyme, rosemary, basil, and others. The aroma and flavor is deep and delicious. If you don't have Pinot Noir, try to use a light or medium bodies red wine. Usually people use a very hearty wine for stew, which is perfect in December, but the lighter wine has a brighter flavor and the flavor of the herbs shines though. If it is still chilly here you are, give this stew a try.
Provencal Beef Stew
1 lb. beef (I used brisket)
3 Tbs. flour
1 Tbs. paprika
4 celery stalks
2 tsp. Herbes de Provence
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups red wine (I used Pinot Noir)
1 1/2 cups tomato juice
1 cup water
salt and pepper
1. Chop the meat into 1 inch pieces.
2. In a bowl, combine flour, paprika, and 2 tsp. salt until well blended. Add the meat and coat it on all sides.
3. In a heavy bottom pot or dutch oven, heat 2 Tbs. olive oil on high heat. When hot, knock off the excess flour from the meat and add the meat to the pot. You aren't cooking it all the way though. Just get nice caramelization on the edges.
4. Remove the meat and turn down the heat to medium.
5. Add your coarsely chopped carrots, onions, and celery. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper, bay leaves, and Herbes de Provence. Allow them to cook together for 4-5 minutes.
6. Add the wine, tomato juice, and water. Turn down the heat to a very low simmer.
7. Cover and allow to simmer for 2 hours until the broth is thickened and the beef and vegetables are tender.
Dish up and enjoy. I served the stew with Weeknight Smashed Potatoes and it was a big hit.