New England winters are cold, snowy, and harsh! I love to embrace the weather with an old fashioned stick to your bones, comfort food; my remedy for enjoying the winter season. My beef stew is a twist on the traditional recipe, I add beets instead of potatoes. Beets are full of nutritional and add deep red color to the stew. If beets aren’t to your liking you can substitute potatoes. I suggest you give the beets a try, you will be surprised by how delicious and tasty beets are in the stew. Beef tenderloin, so flavorful, adds a company-worthy touch to this stew. As an accompaniment to the stew I toss a beautiful salad( I like arugula)*, add freshly baked bread and a bottle rich red wine for an elegant, easy company dinner. I set my table with an eclectic assortment of dishes and glasses, light tapered and votive candles, dim the dining room chandelier and build a roaring fire. Then I can sit and enjoy entertaining friends for dinner rather than spending time in the kitchen. The stew can be made a day ahead and gently warmed before serving.
2 pounds beef tenderloin, cut 1-inch cubes
Flour (for dredging)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, chopped
2 cups dry red wine
2 cups beef stock
2 cups homemade tomato sauce
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 onion peeled and studded with 4 cloves
3 red beets, peeled and sliced
2 cups of baby carrots, sliced
1 cup fennel, thinly sliced
Salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Preheat oven 400F. Dredge meat in flour. Melt butter and oil in a large pot. Cook the beef to rare, remove from pot. And set aside. Cook garlic and onions in the pot until translucent, don’t brown.
Add wine, and beef stock to the pan, scrape up any pieces stuck to the bottom. Add tomato sauce, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 1/2 hour.
Add beef, onion, beets, carrots, fennel. Cover and bake in the oven for 1 hour. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Toss with parsley and serve.
1/2 pound fresh arugula (3 large bunches)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (two lemons)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4-pound piece Parmesan cheese
Cut off stems of arugula. Wash by filling the sink with cold water and toss for the arugula for a few minutes. Spin-dry the leaves and place them in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pour enough dressing to moisten arugula. Toss well and place on individual salad plates.
Use a cheese knife or vegetable peeler to shave the parmesan into large shards and arrange on the arugula.