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Stewed beef & mushrooms

Beef and mushrooms! I know, right? Such a delicious combination of deep umami flavours, and a real tummy pleaser on a winter's eve. There's a pound and a half of earthy white mushrooms in this dish, along with two pounds of stewing beef and two large handfuls of fresh spinach leaves. Mmm! That's a big bowl of iron-rich comfort right there.

Here's how I made it:

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 lbs stewing beef
splash canola oil
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 1/2 lbs white mushrooms, quartered
2 tsp dried tarragon
3 cups beef stock
2 large handfuls fresh spinach leaves

While the oil was heating over medium heat in a large soup pot, I combined the flour, garlic powder, and coriander in a plastic freezer bag. I added the beef to the bag in batches, shaking to coat each piece with the flour mixture. The beef was added to the pot and browned on all sides, then removed to a heat-proof bowl and set aside. 

The onions and mushrooms were added to the pot next, along with a 1/4 cup of the stock, and simmered for about 5 minutes. Then I stirred in the tarragon, returned the beef to the pot, and added the rest of the stock. I brought the liquid to a boil while scraping the tasty brown bits from the bottom of the pot with my wooden spoon. Then I reduced the heat to low and allowed it to simmer, covered, for 90 minutes. To finish, I removed the pot from the heat and stirred in the spinach.

We enjoyed our bowls of stewed beef and mushrooms with slices of homemade whole wheat bread. Dip dip! J'adore. Cold weather was made for meals like this. Or at least a big bowl of this makes cold weather worth bearing.

I love keeping stewing beef on hand in the freezer. It's inexpensive, versatile, and, after the magic of a slow simmer, always results in a delicious and tender beef dinner.

What's your favourite thing to make with stewing beef? What are your favourite cold weather family dinners? Got any cooking goals for 2012? Leave a comment and tell me all about your plans!