Classic Beef Stew with Flaky Cheddar Chive Scones
Most people have a soft spot for a good beef stew, the ultimate comfort dish on a cold night. This version will perfume your kitchen with the sweet scent of paprika and wine. On another occasion, try different vegetables, such as rutabagas, potatoes, or chickpeas. Chances are you’ll devour a warm scone before you even get the stew to the table, but you’ll still have plenty of scones for dipping in the luscious sauce. If you’re pressed for time, serve the stew with egg noodles instead of the scones.
Wine suggestion: California Cabernet Sauvignon or California Syrah
Classic Beef Stew
- 1-1/2 pounds (680 g) boneless beef chuck, in 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Unbleached all-purpose flour, as needed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon California paprika or other sweet paprika
- ¾ cup (.2 l) dry white wine
- ¾ cup (150 g) fresh tomato pulp (see Note) or finely chopped canned San Marzano tomatoes
- 2 cups (.5 l) chicken broth, or more as needed
- 1 dozen fresh thyme sprigs, tied with kitchen twine
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ pound (225 g) baby carrots, scrubbed
- ½ pound (225 g) small turnips, peeled and halved or quartered
- 1 cup (133 g) frozen peas, cooked and drained
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
Flaky Cheddar Chive Scones
- 2 cups (285 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 packed tablespoons thinly sliced chives
- 1 cup (70 g) coarsely grated Cheddar cheese, chilled
- Approximately 1-1/3 cups (320 g) heavy cream, chilled
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
Serves 4 to 6
Prepare the beef stew: Season the meat all over with 1 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper. Set the meat on a platter and refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. Bring to room temperature before continuing.
Dredge the meat with flour, shaking off excess. Heat a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, brown the meat, working in batches to avoid overcrowding. Reduce the heat if needed to prevent scorching. Transfer the meat to a platter as it is browned.
Pour off any fat in the pot and return to medium-low heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and the onion, garlic, and paprika. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the onion has softened and moisture from the onion has dissolved all the browned bits on the bottom of the pot, about 10 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half. Add the tomato and cook for 5 minutes. Add the broth, thyme, and bay leaves. Stir to blend, then add the browned meat and any juices on the platter.
Bring to a simmer, cover, and adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until the meat is almost tender when probed with a fork, about 1 hour longer. Add the carrots and turnips, stirring them down into the liquid. Recover and continue cooking until the vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. If the stew seems too thick, thin with broth. Remove the thyme bundle and bay leaves, then stir in the peas and parsley. Taste for seasoning.
While the stew cooks, prepare the scones: Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a heavy rimmed baking sheet with a silicone mat if you have one, or with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and chives. Add the Cheddar and toss with a fork until well blended. Add the cream gradually, tossing with a fork until all the floury bits are coated. Use a dough scraper or spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. With the dough still in the bowl, gather it and knead it gently, just enough to form a cohesive mass.
Turn the dough out on the prepared baking sheet and pat and prod it into a ¾-inch-thick (19 mm) rectangle. The thickness is important, but the other dimensions don’t matter. Try not to work the dough or add additional flour.
With a sharp knife, cut the rectangle into 12 scones. Separate them on the baking sheet. With a pastry brush, baste the tops with melted butter.
Bake until nicely browned and well risen, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool for 5 minutes.
Divide the stew among soup bowls, garnishing each portion with parsley. Pass the scones separately.
Note: To make fresh tomato pulp, cut 2 large plum tomatoes in half lengthwise. Grate on the large holes of a box grater until only the skin remains in your hand. Discard the skin. You should have about ¾ cup pulp (150 g).