Beef Stew with Fennel and Shallots

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose (plain) flour
  • 1 pound boneless lean beef stew meat, trimmed of visible fat and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced vertically
  • 3 large shallots, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cups vegetable stock or broth
  • 1/2 cup red wine, optional
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 4 large red-skinned or white potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 18 small boiling onions, about 10 ounces total weight, halved crosswise
  • 3 portobello mushrooms, brushed clean and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley

 

Directions:

  • Place the flour on a plate. Dredge the beef cubes in the flour.
  • In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat.
  • Add the beef and cook, turning as needed, until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove the beef from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • Add the fennel and shallots to the pan over medium heat and sauté until softened and lightly golden, 7 to 8 minutes.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper, the thyme sprigs and the bay leaf.
  • Sauté for 1 minute. Return the beef to the pan and add the vegetable stock and the wine, if using.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer gently until the meat is tender, 40 to 45 minutes.
  • Add the carrots, potatoes, onions and mushrooms. The liquid will not cover the vegetables completely, but more liquid will accumulate as the mushrooms soften.
  • Simmer gently until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes longer.
  • Discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Stir in the parsley and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
  • Ladle into warmed individual bowls and serve immediately.

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