One of the best cool weather comforts is this. A thick rich broth laden with tender cubes of beef and chunks of carrot, turnip, onion, potato, and celery.
Here’s the guideline- Sear beef chunks in a large casserole soup pot with some veg oil in batches on Med-High, setting the browned meat aside in a dish as you continue to work the rest of the meat.
Once all the meat is seared you’ll notice the dark cooked remnants from searing the meat stuck to the bottom of the pot- good stuff. What I do here is, using a bit of red wine or beef stock (feel free to use water if you must) and keeping the pot hot, pour in the liquid to Deglaze the pan loosening all those flavourful bits. Then pour this nectar over your cooked meat that is waiting in the dish.
Then adding some oil back to the Medium temp pot begin to add in the onions, cooking till they get a little colour, then the celery, turnip and carrot, potatoes last. Use a little Salt and Pepper here to begin layering the flavour. Turn the heat down to low, or slide it off the heat while you do the next step.
With all the veg now in the pot sprinkle in some flour to coat them, I used about a 1/4 cup flour here. It will look a little paste-y but that’s what you want. Stir it in and then start adding in the beef stock and turn the heat up to Medium now. This is thickening your broth. Add in the seared beef cubes along with any accumulated liquid.
Throw in a Bay Leaf and if you have access to some fresh Thyme branches, tie into a bundle with twine and toss in.
Now you let it come up in temperature to activate the thickening properties of the flour and stock, giving a stir every few minutes. If too thick add in more stock. It’s all about preference, you don’t want your spoon to stand straight up unaided in the pot, but you want some body to the broth.
Check your seasoning, and let it simmer for an hour or so, to give the beef time to tenderize, and the potatoes to cook through.
Once the stew is finished you can let it cool slightly and ladle into a baking dish. You can hold the stew a day or two in the fridge before topping with biscuits if you want to plan ahead. The biscuits must be made fresh and baked immediately though.
Now for the biscuits. Because it’s “Baking” you need accurate measurements here, so the recipe follows:
2 cups flour
1.5 TBL Baking Powder
1/4 Tsp Baking Soda
1 TBL sugar
1/4 TSP salt
Put the above dry ingredients together into a bowl.
Then add in:
4 oz butter (1/2 cup)
Work the butter into the dry ingredients with your hands till it resembles crumbles the size of peas. Don’t over work it, keep a light hand.
Whisk together in a small bowl:
1 cup of Buttermilk
Then add to the flour/butter mix
I use a flexible plastic scraper to mix this together like the rectangle white one here~
Mix it to shaggy mass and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and lightly knead it with 5 turns.
Pat or roll the dough out to about a one inch thickness and using a small 3 inch cookie cutter cut out rounds, or using a sharp paring knife cut 3 inch squares. You can certainly make the biscuits any size you want really.
I didn’t pat mine out thin enough and so they are huge atop my stew!
With your slightly cooled stew in the baking dish place the raw cut biscuits on top of the stew, leaving a bit of space between biscuits to allow for expansion while baking. You can choose to egg wash the biscuit tops or not, I like to because it makes a nice finish when baked. For this mix up 1 egg in a cup and using a small brush apply to raw biscuits.
Place the works onto a baking sheet (to catch any overflow) and into a 400’F oven for about 20 minutes.
Plate or bowl is the only quandary. Enjoy!