Nancy Fuller’s Winter Harvest Beef Stew (An RI Exclusive)
How could we hang out on set with local Food Network star Nancy Fuller and not get a recipe? In the spirit of the holiday season and eating what’s seasonal, Nancy has given us a peek at one of her as of yet unpublished “rules” for a rich and hearty beef stew that takes advantage of the late local harvest. It’s also a perfect example of her straight forward, classy, no-nonsense style.
While you can find variations of this recipe on Nancy’s Fuller Farm website and at Foodnetwork.com, this version is stripped down to let individual ingredients shine even through a dark, meaty sauce. The long cooking time in your heavy Dutch oven releases deep flavor from the meat and pulls an unexpected and complex sweetness from the parsnips, potatoes, carrots and Brussels sprouts. The chuck is both the star and backup singer in this stew, so it’s a great opportunity to use some really good beef from a high-quality local purveyor.
A great meal for a large family or to make and store for a colder night to come, Nancy got philosophical when talking about why she loves this stew so much. As quintessentially winter as this recipe is, she says it makes her think of spring.
“In winter we are sort of like the land, all that nature hibernating outside,” she said, gesturing out the window to her snow-covered farm. “We need stews and hearty things to build up and store up all our energy, so we can come out in the spring and get to work and do good things.”
Whether you want to get poetic about it or not, make this recipe and you will see that this stew is some powerful stuff. A strong and filling dish without being fatty or greasy, in just few hours your Dutch oven will turn roots and tough little cabbages sweet and soft and make one of the butcher’s toughest cuts fall to delectable ribbons in your mouth. —Jamie Larson
Nancy Fuller’s “Rule” for Winter Harvest Beef Stew
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 pounds boneless chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 slices bacon
3 tablespoons olive oil, optional
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups beef broth
1 pound parsnips, peeled and tops removed, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 pound carrots with tops, peeled and tops removed, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 pound fingerling potatoes
1 pint Brussels sprouts, chopped
2 cups good red wine
1/2 cup fresh parsley
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon whole allspice
5 cloves garlic
3 bay leaves
1 medium onion, chopped
Preheat the oven to 325F.
Put 1 cup of the flour in a shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper. Dredge the beef in the seasoned flour and set aside.
On the stove top, heat a large Dutch oven on medium-high heat, add the bacon and cook until crisp. Set the bacon aside, leaving the drippings behind in the skillet (chop the bacon and reserve for serving). In batches, brown the beef in the skillet, adding olive oil if necessary, about 3 minutes per batch. Transfer each batch to a bowl as they brown, we’ll add the beef back in at the end.
Turn the heat down to medium, add the butter and remaining 3 tablespoons flour to the skillet. Cook 3 minutes, stirring with a whisk. Whisk in the tomato paste. Pour in the beef broth and whisk to get all the ingredients incorporated with the brown bits from the bottom of the skillet.
Add the parsnips, carrots, potatoes, Brussels sprouts, red wine, parsley, Worcestershire, allspice, garlic, bay leaves and onions. Last, add the beef and give it a good stir. Place the lid on the Dutch oven and move the stew into the oven for 3.5 hours, where it will finish cooking. Serve in bowls sprinkled with the reserved bacon.