Easy to make, soy sauce marinated skirt steak (or whatever you find in your freezer, WFF) red wine and balsamic beef stew.
I’m always disappointed when it comes time to clean out our tiny freezer in our cabin refrigerator. Beautiful strip steaks… best if used by 2019. Shit.
My new thing is to try and use what I have even if its not perfect for the dish I had in mind. Take this weekend for example. It’s foggy and cold in Central Minnesota where I’m holed up for a long weekend. My mind is saying “Beeeef Stew!”, but my freezer is offering 2 pounds of skirt steak from fajitas not made. No problem, skirt steak beef stew it is.
Old fashioned beef stew made with soy marinated skirt steak, red wine and balsamic vinegar.
Starting with less than a classic cut of beef for stew, I marinated the skirt for part of the day in soy sauce and Worcestershire. I was also thinking the dish should be heavy on a dark red wine (I used a Zinfandel), and lots of balsamic vinegar.
This was my first try at skirt steak stew and I knew there was a lot riding on the Whatever you Find in your Freezer WFF concept, so I was planning on throwing everything I had at this dish, my inaugural WFF Beef Stew, skirt steak style.
Fast forward a day and I can tell you the beef stew was nothing short of incredible! My wife claimed it rivaled some of the best short rib she’s ever had. The stew was super beefy, and the broth was rich, salty, perfectly acid with just enough tomato essence. Really, really nice.
Season your beef on both sides with Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Place beef in a glass bowl or gallon Ziploc bag. Add the soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce to the bowl or bag. Cover the bowl or close the bag and place in the refrigerator for 2 - 4 hours and up to a day prior to making the stew.
Cut beef into chunks and brown.
Remove the beef from the marinade and pat dry with paper towel. Cut the beef into 1 - 2" cubes. Cut against any grain the beef may have.
Warm olive oil over medium high heat in a heavy Dutch oven or pot. Add the beef in batches to avoid crowding and cook until the beef is deep brown on most sides. Set aside the browned beef.
Sauté onion, carrots and deglaze the pot and add the floured beef.
Remove the last batch of the browned beef and into the same pot, add the carrots and onion. Sauté over medium-high heat for 5 - 7 minutes until starting to soften and darken, then add the garlic.
In the meantime, add the flour to the browned beef and mix to evenly coat.
Next, deglaze the pot with the wine and balsamic vinegar, and allow the liquid to reduce and further soften the vegetables. Add the tomato paste. Cook 1 - 2 minutes until the tomato paste is incorporated and starting to darken. Then, add the floured beef to the pot. Cook and stir in the beef until the flour is fully incorporated and beginning to brown, about 2 - 3 minutes.
Add beef stock, bullion and herbs to the pot and bring to a boil.
Next, stir in the beef stock, water, and bullion concentrate. Over medium heat allow the stew to come to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Add the thyme, rosemary and bay leaves. Simmer covered for 90 minutes. Stir occasionally to release the stew from the bottom of the pot.
After the first 90 minutes of cooking, add the potatoes to the pot and cook covered for another 30 minutes. If using russet potatoes add after the first 60 minutes of cooking and cook covered for another 60 minutes.
Uncover and reduce stew with final cooking.
After the initial 2 hours of covered cooking, uncover the stew, and simmer for an additional 30 minutes.
Finally, turn off the heat, add frozen peas and mix into the stew. Cover and allow the stew to cool 10 - 20 minutes. Remove rosemary and thyme stems and remaining garlic bulbs if desired. Check and season as needed, garnish with coarsely chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley and serve in deep bowls with crusty bread.