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Oven-Braised Beef Stew

Serves 6 to 8

This beef stew recipe came from my mother. It is very good and easy to make because, since it cooks in the oven, it does not require attention like a stew made on top of the stove. It can be made several days ahead and reheated at 35° F for 60 to 90 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. In this recipe, tapioca, as well as sliced bread, is used as a thickener in place of flour.

Ingredients

Preheat oven to 350° F. Heat olive oil in large skillet over high. Season beef with salt and pepper. Add to the hot pan in batches to quickly brown, being certain not to overcrowd pan. Remove browned beef to plate until use. Deglaze pan with the wine, scraping up all the browned bits.

Place browned beef, accumulated juices, wine and remaining ingredients, except bread, in large bowl and combine well. Place in a 13x9x2-inch casserole. Top with bread slices. Cover tightly. Place in oven and bake for 2 hours. (Remove from oven at this point if you plan to refrigerate and use later.) Remove cover and check for tenderness, being careful not to disturb the bread until all is done. If necessary, cover and continue to bake for another 30 minutes. Before serving, stir the bread slices into the stew for extra thickening.

Notes: When Mom first made this recipe, she did not brown the meat. It was still a good dish, but I decided that browning it would add more flavor. So, if you are pinched for time and just need to get the stew in the oven, that step can be omitted.