1teaspoonchopped fresh rosemary,or ½ teaspoon dried
1teaspoonfresh thyme leaves, or ½ teaspoon dried
4large carrotspeeled, sliced diagonally into chunks
1/2lbmini gold or fingerling potatoes, cut in small chunks
8ouncesfrozen whole pearl onions, (optional or to use fresh pearl onions, see note below**)
8ozwhite mushrooms, sliced, (optional)
Add bacon to a large Dutch oven or stock pot. Turn heat to medium-low and cook, turning flipping every so often, until browned. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and then chop into small pieces.
Pat beef cubes dry with paper towels and add to a ziplock bag with flour, salt and pepper. Toss well to coat.
Heat the pan with bacon grease over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the beef in 2-3 batches (so not to overcrowd the pan), adding a little oil as needed, searing for a few minutes on each side, until browned. Remove meat to a plate and set aside. Reduce heat to medium.
Add onion and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add vinegar and wine to the pan, cooking over medium-high heat, and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Add beef broth, bullion, tomato paste, bay leaves, thyme and rosemary. Season with a little more salt and pepper. Add beef and bacon back to the pot. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer.
Cover and cook for 1 ½ hours or until beef is tender.
Meanwhile, chop the potatoes, carrots, and slice the mushrooms. Set aside.
Cook mushrooms (if using): Add 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil to a saute pan over medium high heat. Add mushrooms to the pan in a single layer. Cook for several minutes (without touching). Once golden on the bottom, flip to the other side and cook for a few more minutes.
Add mushrooms, potatoes, carrots and frozen pearl onions to the soup pot and cook for 15-20 more minutes, until carrot and potatoes are tender.
Taste broth. Season as needed with additional salt, pepper, bullion, rosemary, thyme, or some garlic powder. Add a sprinkle of crushed red pepper, if desired.
Ladle some of the hot broth into a bowl and whisk the flour into it, until smooth. Add to pot and cook for 2-5 minutes, until broth has slightly thickened.
*Better than Boullion Paste: I add this to the broth because it adds a deeper flavor. You can leave it out if you don’t have it, or add 1-2 beef bouillon cubes.** For fresh pearl onions: boil water and add the unpeeled onions to the boiling water for 45 seconds. Drain and cut off the non-pointy end of the onion. Hold the onion on the pointy side and push the "pearl" onion out from inside the shell. Add to soup according to recipe instructions.Beef: I recommend a chuck roast over packaged "stew meat", because stew meat is usually a combination of different trimmings from leftover steaks and roasts. The chuck roast is around the same price and the quality will be better.Wine: if you don’t want to cook with wine you can leave it out and add additional beef broth to replace it.Veggies: Add more veggies if desired, including green beans, peas, winter squash, and peas.Freezing Instructions: Beef stew can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge, then rewarm on the stovetop.Baked Stew: Preheat the oven to 325°F and set a rack in the lower middle position. Prepare recipe up to step 5, and then cover and place in oven for 2 ½ - 3 hours, until meat is tender. Add potatoes and carrots during last hour of cooking.Slow Cooker Beef Stew: Cook bacon, brown meat and onions. Add all ingredients to slow cooker. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, until tender. Add flour mixture or a cornstarch slurry during last hour of cooking, to thicken soup.Instant Pot Beef Stew: Brown bacon, meat and onions using sauté setting on the IP. Turn IP off. Add remaining ingredients and cook on high pressure for 35 minutes, with a 10 minute natural release. Stir in flour mixture or cornstarch slurry at the end, to thicken.