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Last night’s dinner: Craig Claiborne’s beef stew

craig claiborne beef stew

To be honest, this is not a picture of the dinner version of this dish, which was served on a bed of lovely brown organic rice and had parsley garnishes for a bit of color. Nope, you guys get the quick leftover before-school-pick-up lunch version. But let me tell you, it was even more delicious today than it was before…

Why I find it necessary to mention the fact that this beef stew comes to us via the late great Craig Claiborne, I don’t really know. Maybe it’s because, as a kid growing up in a household that read the New York Times religiously, he was the first real food writer that I was aware of. (Well, besides Julia Child who came into our hearts via Dan Akroyd’s brilliant Saturday Night Live impersonations). Or maybe it’s just because “beef stew” sounds kind of pedestrian and lame, but “Craig Claiborne’s beef stew” suddenly feels more debonair.

Whatever the reason, this dish is stupendous. And the perfect thing to serve these days, now that the weather has suddenly switched from Indian Summer to Arctic Vortex overnight.

I started preparing it early in the am, left the stew to simmer for a nice long time and then actually left the entire pot just to sit for a few hours before it was time to reheat and eat. As with all stews, this one improves with age, and I am really looking forward to the late lunch of leftovers that I’m about to sink into now.

Details are below, or you can go to the ever-awesome NY Times Cooking site, for the full monty with photos, links to similar recipes, etc…

Craig Claibporne’s Beef Stew


4 pounds lean, boneless chuck steak
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
2 cups coarsely chopped onions
6 tablespoons flour
4 cups dry red wine
2 cups water
4 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon thyme
6 sprigs parsley, tied in a bundle
6 large carrots, about 1 1/2 pounds, trimmed and scraped


Cut the meat into two-inch cubes.
Using a large skillet, heat the oil and add the beef cubes in one layer. Add salt and pepper and cook, stirring and turning the pieces often, for about 10 minutes.
Add the garlic and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 10 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and stir to coat the meat evenly.
Add the wine and stir until the mixture boils and thickens. Stir in the water. Add the cloves, bay leaf, thyme and parsley. Cover closely and simmer for one hour.
Meanwhile, cut the carrots into one-inch lengths. If the pieces are very large, cut them in half lengthwise. Add them to the beef. Cover and continue cooking for 30 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. Serve the stew sprinkled with chopped parsley.

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