Delicious Italian Beef Stew, cooked low and slow and served in Parmesan Herb Popovers.
I know I'm not the only one to have serious cabin fever this winter. It's been a brutal one everywhere. Maybe some day soon this Winter will actually end or at least loosen it's grip, but right now, out my window, there are zero signs of Spring and frankly, that sucks. Until that changes, I guess I'll just have to continue finding some comfort in the comfort food of Winter.
I am a big fan of Italian beef stew and this one is super simple, with just a few ingredients. It's ideal lazy weekend (or make-ahead) cooking, as it simmers away on the stove-top all afternoon. What makes this stew Italian, is the addition of tomatoes - not so much that it's a ragu, but just enough so that the gravy is rich with flavour.
Cook's Notes for Italian Beef Stew and Parmesan Herb Popovers
I love to pair this stew with Parmesan popovers, not just because these go beautifully with this stew, but because popovers are awesome and we should all eat more of them! They're a nice change from the usual potato or bread sides, as well. Ideally for dishes like this, popovers are hollow (hopefully), so they make a nice little bowl for spooning the stew in to.
You don't need a popover pan for the popovers. A muffin tin will do fine.
Italian Beef Stew in Parmesan Herb Popovers
Italian Beef Stew:
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 1/2-2 lbs. stewing beef (or any marinating steak, cut into chunks)
- 1/2 cup onion (diced)
- 1 cup carrots (diced)
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 2 cups beef broth
- 400 g. can cherry tomatoes (or you can use a small can of diced tomatoes - about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp. herbes de provence (or dried basil)
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups potatoes (diced in a small dice)
- Salt and pepper (to taste, but season generously)
- Freshly chopped parsley
Parmesan Herb Popovers:
- 3 large eggs (at room temperature)
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk (at room temperature)
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 tsp. salt
- Several grinds of freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (plus more for sprinkling on top, if you like)
- 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
- For the stew: In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Working in two batches (so as to not crowd the pan), brown meat on all sides and remove to a plate. Reduce heat to medium.
- Add onion and carrots and cook, stirring, until onion are softened and translucent. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add beef broth and stir well to loosen the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add tomatoes, spices, butter, vinegar and browned beef pieces and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 - 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- After stew has simmered, add potatoes and cook, uncovered, stirring regularly, until potatoes are cooked and stew has thickened, about 30-40 minutes.
- Taste and season well with salt and pepper. Stir in a few tablespoons of freshly chopped parsley.
- For the popovers: Preheat oven to 450° F. with oven rack in the lower third of the oven (an no rack too close above it). Place popover pan (or muffin tins) in oven to heat while you mix the batter.
- In a large bowl (preferably one with a spout for easy pouring), combine the eggs and milk in a large bowl and whisk vigorously until the mixture is very frothy, about 1 minute. Add the flour and salt and whisk until batter is the consistency of heavy cream with some small lumps and air bubbles remaining. Stir in the Parmesan and parsley.
- (*NOTE: If using a muffin tin, you’ll need to reduce the baking time. I’d suggest 15 minutes at 450° F. and another 15-18 minutes at 350° F. Watch closely the first time to gauge. You also might want to fill only every other muffin cup, to give the popovers room to grow.)
- Remove popover pan from oven and coat lightly with cooking spray. Fill popover cups about half full with batter. Bake bake for 20 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350° F. and continue baking until golden brown, about 18-20 minutes more.
- Remove the popover pan from the oven and immediately turn them out onto a wire rack. Using a sharp knife, poke a small opening in the side of each popover to let the steam escape.
- To serve, cut popovers in half like you would a muffin. Place the bottom of the popover on a plate and spoon stew over. Top with top of popover or place on the side. Garnish with a bit more fresh chopped parsley.