Italian Beef Stew with Mushrooms

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Ingredients:

3 lb chuck roast, trimmed of fat and cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
3 medium red potatoes, chopped, skin on
28 oz tomatoes, squished by hand the Italian way
2 cups carrots, sliced
1/2 cup celery, sliced
6 oz mushrooms, small crimini can be left whole, if large, slice in half
1 t dried oregano
1 t dried thyme
1/2 t fresh cracked black pepper
1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves, torn in half
1/2 cup beef stock
1 T olive oil
1 bay leaf

Spoon Mage™ Note:

One of the wonderful things about stew is that you can simply work with what you have on hand. If you don’t have onions, use leeks or thaw those lovely frozen pear onions. No red potatoes? Either skip the potatoes and add more carrots or other root veggies, or use the kind you have. Baking potatoes will not have a nice texture, but they will still be tasty. If you don’t have beef stock, use red wine.

To squish the tomatoes, dump them in a bowl, stick your hand in there and keep on squishing until the texture is consistent.

Depending upon your tastes, you may need to add a little salt. I won’t look while you do, but you could just try a dash of hot red pepper flakes or Tabasco instead.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325ºF

Pat the chuck roast dry with paper towels and trim all visible fat. Cut into chunks. Place in oven suitable pot with an oven proof lid. Dutch ovens are great for this.

Sprinkle the meat with the chopped potatoes.

Hand squish and cover the potatoes and meat with the diced tomatoes, including their juice. You can use two cans of crushed tomatoes if you like. Add the beef stock.

Chop the onion, carrots, celery and add to the pot.

Rinse and pat dry the mushrooms, remove the stems, and add to the pot.

Top the stew with the oregano, thyme, black pepper, and fresh basil.

Pour in the stock and drizzle with olive oil. Toss lightly to mix.

Insert a bay leaf into the center.

Cover and cook in the preheated oven for about 3 hours. Stir after two hours. Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning to suit your taste.

After three hours, use a fork to test the meat and veggies for tenderness.

Remove from the oven and extract the bay leaf.

Allow the stew to rest, covered, for ten minutes. Uncover and serve with Baking Powder Biscuits.

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