Friday, March 11, 2011

Provencal Beef Stew

( That will get ya thinking! )

We didn’t have any beef dishes while we were in France so when I was home for a week or so and yearning for the aromas and flavors from the trip, I went searching for a good recipe. I found a whole bunch of different recipes for Provencal style beef stews and as I often do I picked different aspects from several to pull together something new.

Provencal Beef Stew over Steamed Vegetables

2 1/2 lbs of stew beef
1/3 cup flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 tsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry red wine (Cotes du Rhone is perfect)
3 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 pound of diced tomatoes (frozen fresh from last summer), undrained
1 Tbsp. Herbes de Provence
1 lb potatoes, cut into ¾ inch cubes
4 large carrots, sliced
2 Tbsp corn starch
2 oz water
1/2 cup niçoise olives, pitted and cut in half
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 large zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
1 large yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
12 oz green beans, cleaned and trimmed

1. Combine flour, salt and pepper. Reserve 1 tablespoon flour mixture. Lightly coat beef with remaining flour mixture.

2. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in stockpot over medium heat until hot. Brown 1/2 of beef; remove from stockpot. Repeat with remaining 2 teaspoons oil and remaining beef. Place beef in a slow cooker that had been sprayed with cooking spray. Set the slow cooker on high.

3. Add onion and garlic to stockpot; cook and stir 3 to 5 minutes or until onions are tender. Add wine; increase heat to medium-high. Cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or until browned bits attached to stockpot are dissolved. Pour this mixture into the slow cooker. Stir in broth, tomatoes, Herbes de Provence and remaining flour mixture. Add the potatoes and carrots. Cook on high for 1 hour, reduce heat to low and cook for 6 hours.

4. Mix the corn starch into the water. Add to the stew. Add the olives and basil and mix the stew well; cook on high for another 30 minutes until the olives are heated through and the stew has thickened.

6. Steam the green beans, zucchini and yellow squash until tender.

7. Serve the stew over the steamed vegetables with crusty bread and the remainder of the wine used to make the strew.

( Fair herbs, you will soon be making me happy! )

The aromas in the house while the slow cooker did its thing were amazing. The Herbes de Provence blend you might find in the store will vary in the ingredients, including savory, rosemary, thyme, basil and lavender. I often have all of these on hand and will definitely experiment with different combinations in future Provencal dishes.

The wine I selected to use in this dish and then enjoy with it was the La Vielle Ferme Cotes du Ventoux Rouge. As I noted in my post on the wines we enjoyed while in Provence (I had this wine on the Air France plane flight over), this wine has a wonderful nose and for the value price it is a great wine to have on hand.

( The final cut! It was so good. )

When paired with the stew and crusty bread the wine performed exceptionally. The influences of the garlic, onions and herbs flavored the beef wonderfully and the wine’s combination of fruit and earth added complexity to each bite. The steamed vegetables were cooked separately so with a bit of the stew sauce they retained a good deal of own flavors, which when paired with the wine was a lighter and fresher pairing.




Unknown said...

This recipe looks delicious, I can't wait to make it.

Belinda @zomppa said...

Very nice...can just fantasizing dunking that crusty bread.

Kate @ said...

That sounds so good! I wish I could grab it off the screen... delicious!

Anonymous said...

Amazing beef stew with Provencal flavors and ingredients! I love the basil, olives, and the Herbes de Provence here!