Beef Burgundy Round Steak Stew

Normally such a hardy, filling supper would be reserved for the fall, when evenings are cool and crisp. So why are we dining on a stew in June? Here in the central California valley, we’ve been experiencing a major heat wave – temperatures tickling the 110 degree mark. We’ve been breaking records as everything withered – plants, animals and people – under the scorching sun. For an entire week we avoided heavy foods and anything involving the oven. Chef Salad – Perfect Summer Supper and Mile-High Hoagie Style Sub Sandwiches were the suppers of choice. Then the heat wave broke, and in celebration of ninety-degree temperatures, we decided a rich, decadent wine-based stew was in order.

The sauce is a deep color, bursting with rich flavor. The mushrooms and onions enhance the wine sauce. The herb mashed potatoes make the perfect base for the luscious stew. And the nutty, seared asparagus tips add color while giving yet another layer of flavor and texture to the dish.

Beef Burgundy Round Steak Stew
4 lbs Beef Round Steak, 1-inch thick
¼ Cup Vegetable Oil
3 Tablespoons Flour
2 Teaspoons Salt
¼ Teaspoon Dried Marjoram Leaves
½ Teaspoon Dried Thyme Leaves
½ Teaspoon pepper
1 Bag Whole Pearl Onions (frozen)
1 lb Button mushrooms
1 Cup Beef Broth
2 Cups Burgundy Wine

Cut beef steak into 1-inch cubes; set aside.

Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch-oven over medium-heat.

Mix flour and seasonings in a zip-lock bag. Add beef steak to the bag. Seal and shake to coat meat.

Empty contents into pot.

Cook beef, stirring often, until well browned.

Stir in broth and wine. Add onions and mushrooms. Heat to a boil, reduce heat; cover and simmer about 1 1/2  hours or until beef is tender.

Uncover pot and let everything simmer another 30 minutes, as the cooking liquid thickens to a deep, rich gravy.

Garlic-Herb Mashed Potatoes
3 Lbs Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 Cups WHOLE milk (for creamier potatoes, use Half and Half)
2 Tablespoons Minced Roasted Garlic
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 Teaspoons Sea Salt
Pepper to Taste
1 Teaspoon Herb Blend such as Herbs De Provence

Peel potatoes and dice into 1-inch pieces. Place in a large pot and cover with about 1 inch of cold water. You can do this ahead of time, holding the potatoes in the water until you are ready to turn up the heat. That works really well if you have a lot going on in the kitchen.

When ready, turn heat on to medium-high. Bring pot to a nice boil, reduce heat to a gentle boil, cover part way with a lid to help retain some of the steam. Cook potatoes for about 15 minutes or until fork-tender.

Carefully pour contents of pot into colander, drain potatoes well, then return potatoes to the cooking pot. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until potatoes are thoroughly dried, about 1 minute. Set aside until ready to mash.

Meanwhile, heat milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, whisking until smooth, about 3 minutes. Cover and keep warm until ready to use.

Using stand mixer fitted with whisk, whip potatoes into small pieces on low-speed, about 30 seconds. Add in the garlic and herb seasoning. Whip again for about 30 seconds to blend.

With the mixer running, add half of the milk mixture in a steady stream until incorporated.

Increase speed to high and whip until potatoes are light and fluffy and no lumps remain, about 2 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed. Check for creaminess – add remaining milk mixture as needed until desired consistency is reached. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, giving everything one final whipping.

Braised Asparagus
1 lb green asparagus, trimmed
1 tablespoon Basil olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
juice of 1/2 lemon, freshly squeezed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon Garlic-Herb Seasoning

Rinse the asparagus and trim off the ends, leaving spears about 8 inches long.

In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil and butter to sizzling. Turn down the heat to medium and add the asparagus.

Using a broad spatula, turn the spears over from time to time until they are browned more or less evenly, about 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the asparagus. The spears will remain mainly green, with patches of crispy brown. Check for doneness by tasting a spear. It should be tender but slightly al dente.

Sprinkle the asparagus with lemon juice, salt and pepper, and garlic-herb seasoning. Give the pan a good shaking to blend all the flavors. Set aside and keep warm until ready to top the beef and potatoes.

To Serve: Place mashed potatoes into individual bowls. Top potatoes with Beef Stew mixture, then garnish the bowl with a few asparagus spears. Enjoy.

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