Practically every recipe for beef stew calls for “stew beef.” I’ve seen it in the store. I’ve used it without much success in stew. But really, what the heck is it? After a bit of research, I found it’s typically chuck or round. Chuck is around the shoulder and round is around the rear of the cow. These cuts require lots of time in order to break down and become tender–and I have no problem with that. My issue comes from the fact that I’ve never had a beef stew where these meats actually tasted fall-apart tender and yummy. So what’s the solution? SHORT RIBS! Cheap and just as easy to use in stew as the above ‘unmentionables’. I am not a crock pot fan, so I used a heavy bottomed, enameled cast iron pot. Use whichever you find easier–but if you do use a crock pot, you will have to saute the meat and veggies in a separate pan and then add them to the crock pot.
- 3 lbs. short ribs (boneless will work if that’s all you can find, but bones add nutrition & awesome flavor!)
- 3 T butter
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 4 oz. mushrooms, roughly chopped
- handful of sage, rosemary and thyme, chopped
- 1 qt. chicken stock
- 2 cups roasted marinara sauce (I keep some in the freezer at all times) or tomato sauce
- 1/4 c apple cider vinegar
Get your oven to 250ºF. In a heavy bottomed, oven safe pot, melt the butter on high heat. Sear your short ribs until you see a nice brown crust on them. Remove and put them on a plate to hang out. Add the celery, onion, carrots, garlic and mushrooms. Saute until they’ve softened. Add the tomato sauce, chicken stock, vinegar and herbs. Place the short ribs back into the pot. Press a sheet of parchment paper onto the surface of the stew and place into the oven. Cook for about 4 hours or until the short ribs pull apart easily with a fork.
Once the short ribs are tender, remove the pot from the oven CAREFULLY. Remove the short ribs and bones. Once the meat has cooled, use your fingers to pull apart the meat–believe me, it’s much, much easier than using a fork. Add the meat back to the pot and serve.