Tried-and-True Beef Stew


1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon dried summer savory
2 to 3 pounds beef chuck, cut into 11/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup dry red wine or water
1 quart beef stock (may be made with beef bouillon cubes)
2 or 3 bay leaves
salt and pepper
6 small carrots
6 pearl onions
4 medium-size potatoes, peeled and quartered
5 ounces (1/2 package) frozen peas
3 tablespoons sour cream


In a shallow dish, combine the flour, thyme, ginger, and savory. Dredge the meat with 2 tablespoons of this mixture, shaking off any excess. Heat the oil and butter in a Dutch oven and brown the meat thoroughly. Remove the meat from the pan. Brown the onion until quite dark and crisp, but do not allow to burn. Remove from the pan. Pour the wine or water into the pan juices to deglaze the pan, then add the stock and bay leaves. Add salt and pepper to taste. Put the meat and onion back in the pan and simmer, covered, for 1-½ to 2 hours, or until the meat is tender.

About 30 minutes before the meat is done, add the carrots, pearl onions, and potatoes. Add the peas during the last few minutes of cooking. Dissolve the remaining 2 tablespoons of the flour mixture in a little cold stock or water. Use it to thicken the gravy. Gradually whisk the sour cream into the thickened gravy, being careful not to allow it to boil.


6 servings

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