When fall rolls around with blustery winds and perfect apples, this stew fits right in with the season. Instead of using wine or beer, this recipe takes advantage of the abundance of the fall harvest. Apple cider balances beautifully with the cornucopia of healthy fall veggies while also providing that all important acid to tenderize the meat.
Beef and Apple Stew
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter *
- 1 medium sweet onion, minced
- 1 medium bulb of fennel, diced
- 3 medium carrots, sliced
- 1 firm, dry apple, diced
- 2 medium parsnips, sliced
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3-4 pounds of stew beef
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1-2 cups apple cider
- 1-2 cups unsalted chicken stock
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 medium acorn squash, steamed and scooped out of skins
Preheat oven to 350º F.
In a Dutch oven over medium-low heat, sauté onions in butter until translucent. Add fennel, carrots, one half of the diced apple, and parsnips and continue sautéing until slightly softened, another 5 minutes. Add a pinch of salt, pepper, and thyme and sauté for 1 more minute to release the flavor in the thyme.
Cut beef into bite-sized piece. Toss with flour in a large Ziplock back to evenly coat. Push sautéed veggies to edges of the pot and brown the beef in batches in the center of the pot, adding a little more butter if the bottom of the pot gets too dry.
Pour in enough apple cider to cover half of the ingredients in the pot. Deglaze by bringing to a simmer while scraping all tasty delicious the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add bay leaves and browned beef back into pot and top with enough chicken stock to cover. Stir through the Dijon mustard and taste for seasoning, adjust salt and pepper (and more mustard if you’re like me).
Cover Dutch oven and transfer to preheated oven for 2 to 2 1/2 hours until the beef is nicely tender. Out of the oven, stir in reserved apples and acorn squash.
Serve with over egg noodles or rice, or with a nice hunk of crusty bread.
* On butter – I am lactose intolerant but can eat butter, as is fairly common. If you can’t, replace the butter with your favorite non-dairy option, but do try to find one without palm oil!