Savory Beef Stew

This is a classic beef stew for cold winter evenings.  Simmered in the oven, most of the work is “hands off.”  Coffee and soy sauce add complexity.

A bowl of savory stew over a bed of polenta

Savory Beef Stew

  • Servings: 6 Servings
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This is a classic beef stew for cold winter evenings. Simmered in the oven, most of the work is “hands off.” Coffee and soy sauce add complexity.


  • 2 lbs. chuck eye roast, cut in 1 ½ inch cubes
  • 1 bag frozen pearl onions, defrosted
  • 2 cups baby carrots, cut in half lengthwise, divided
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 3 cups beef broth (I use Pacific brand)
  • 1 Tablespoon instant coffee
  • 1 white sweet potato, chopped into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 bunch chard, stemmed and chopped
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. In a Dutch oven over high heat. Brown the meat in batched in a bit of oil. Do not overcrowd pan. Remove meat and set aside. Add pearl onion, 1 cup baby carrots and chopped celery and sauté until vegetables are golden. Add tomato paste and flour and cook for a minute or two until a golden crust forms on the bottom of the pan. Add red wine, beef broth and instant coffee, scrapping up the fond from the bottom of the pan. Bring to boil, cover, and move to oven.
  2. Let stew simmered in the oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes, then add potatoes and remaining carrots. Let stew with potatoes simmer an additional 30 minutes then add chard. Return to oven and simmer an additional 30 minutes (total time 2 ½ hours).
  3. Remove from oven, defat liquid if needed. Add fresh sage, thyme, soy sauce and ground black pepper. Serve over polenta or egg noodles.

a dutch oven full of bubbling stew


Chicken stew with mushroom & onions

French Chicken Stew
A grey and drizzly day like today calls for a classic, satisfying and hearty stew like this French-inspired chicken version. The best part – plenty of leftovers for lunch this week.

Chicken stew with mushroom & onions

A classic combination of chicken, mushrooms and onions in a hearty sauce.


  • 6 strips bacon, chopped
  • 1 lb. baby portabella mushrooms, quartered
  • 12 oz. frozen baby onions, thawed
  • 3 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 Tablespoons tarragon, minced


  1. In a large pot of Dutch oven, sauté bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pot. Add mushrooms and onions and sauté until golden and beginning to brown. While cooking, add a pinch of salt to help mushrooms release their liquid. Once browned, remove from pot.
  2. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and add to the pot. Brown chicken on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Cook chicken in batches if needed – do not overcrowd pot. Set chicken aside. Add red wine vinegar and butter to pot. Once butter has melted, sprinkle with flour. Cook about a minute until flour begins to brown. Add chicken stock and cook until bubbling, scraping up flavorful browned bits from bottom of the pot.
  3. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pot, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove lid, add bacon, mushrooms and onions and cook uncovered for 15 minutes more.
  4. If needed, remove chicken, increase heat and cook sauce until reduced and thickened. Return chicken to pot and season with salt and pepper. Serve stew over egg noodles or rice, sprinkled with tarragon.

Wonderful world of Stewwiches

A couple of years ago, my ex boyfriend told me about his idea to open a shop that sold sandwiches with stew fillings.  For lack of a better word, I’ve been calling them “Stewwiches”.   I caught on to his concept quickly: tummy- warming, home-comfort stews wrapped in a crusty roll – what’s not to like?  So, while we were still dating, I put my culinary skills and his brainchild to the test.

Stewwich numéro un : Boeuf Bourguignon.  I used my My Frenchy-French culinary school Bourguignon recipe (authentic and time consuming) on an Argentinean roll (Have you had Argentinean sandwich rolls?  Crusty outsides wrapped around fluffy interiors – perfection) with Dijon mustard, pickled onions and smoked gruyere cheese.  The first night, they were good, but the day after – perfection!  I should have known -a good stew always gets better overnight.

Fast forward two years to what seems to be the warmest summer day in history (without A/C, it sure FEELS like it) and I decide to make Stewwich número dos, Chicken Tinga.  Since when does “summer” and “stew” not go together?  A few weeks ago, In Phoenix, I sat in on a cooking class for making Chicken Tinga.  Translation, it’s Mexican shredded chicken stew.  As I sit in my sweltering dining room, I envision a crunchy roll with a layer of more-smokey-than-spicy chipotle mayonnaise, Chicken Tinga, pickled onions (yes, there was pickled onion on the last one, which was a good crunchy, vinegary contrast to the stew), cotija cheese, creamy cubed avocado, cilantro and crisp lettuce.  Oh, dream on, dear Phoren.

The result:

Chicken Tinga Stewwiches

2           Chicken breasts, roasted and very thinly sliced
1/2        small onion, cisele
1/4-1/2 pasilla chile, cisele
2           garlic cloves, chopped
3           tomatillos, diced
2           tomatoes, diced
1           chipotle chile in adobo, chopped
1 T.       adobo sauce
2 t.        Mexican oregano
1/2 t.     cumin
1/4 t.     cinnamon
3/4 c.    chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

**quantities are estimates

Sweat onion and pasilla.  Add garlic and sauté briefly.  Add tomatillos and tomatoes and cook until softened.  Add chicken, broth, chipotle, adobo and spices.  Cook uncovered until chicken is shredded completely, 75 to 90 minutes.

Pickled Onions
1/2        small onion, thinly sliced
1/2 c.    vinegar (white or apple cider)
1 t.        sugar
Juice from 1/2 orange
1 t.       dried oregano
1/2 t.     salt
1/2 -1 c. boiling water

Mix together all ingredients except water.  Pour hot water over ingredients and stir together.  Let sit for 30 minutes or more.

Chicken Tinga
Pickled Onions
Rolls (I used ‘take and bake’ telera rolls)
Chipotle Mayonnaise (mayo mixed with adobo sauce)
Crumbled cotija cheese
Cilantro leaves
Cubed avocado
Shredded lettuce

Spread rolls with mayonnaise, layer lettuce and chicken.  Garnish with onions, cheese, cilantro, and avocado.

When assembling, I forgot the avocado,  and it was still frickin’ delicious!

Chicken Tinga Sandwich - even without the avocado, still amazing

Chicken Tinga Sandwich – even without the avocado, still amazing!

Load of Crock

crockpotIn my 20+ years of being out on my own,  I’ve avoided buying a crock pot, viewing it as a tool for the home cook and not the utensil of the “serious chef” (Funny how I tend to borrow and use my co-worker’s slow cooker more than she does).  Well,  I ran into this little cutie today at the supermarket  – 1.5 quarts and only $9.99.  How could I resist?  I’m in a stew mood and I can’t wait for Fall.