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Beef stew pairs well with everything

Back-to-School time can be such as busy time. If you want a change from burgers on the grill, try out this easy low-cost comfort food recipe.

Making stew is one of my favorite dinners to plate.

Stew is super easy to make. Rich gravy, beef and vegetables, you cannot go wrong. Stew is not that expensive to make, as you can control the amount of beef you want to go into it. You can even get a small airplane-sized bottle of merlot, if you want to cut the merlot amount a bit for cost.

You have to make this stew recipe ahead of time? It even gets better over a day or two in your refrigerator. You can also freeze this stew for cooler high school football weekends. This recipe has corn starch in it. Therefore, it is gluten-free.

If you are in a rush for a Sunday fall meal, this stew is fantastic to make ahead of time, so that you can enjoy family and friends time.

With a crusty bread and a drink, merlot beef stew is a fantastic meal in a bowl.

Merlot Beef Stew

4 servings

2 pounds of beef chuck, cut into 3-inch pieces

1 pound of fingerling or small red skin potatoes, cut in half

4 large carrots, peeled and cut into large dice

1 large sweet onion, small dice

½ cup of peas, frozen is fine

2 cloves of garlic, grated or crushed

4 cups of low-sodium beef stock

1 cup of merlot wine

6 sprigs of fresh thyme

1 tablespoon of tomato paste

1 tablespoon of olive oil

2 tablespoons of corn starch diluted in 2 tablespoons of water

Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Over medium high heat, add the olive oil into your stew pot. While the oil is heating, season your cut beef with salt. When the pot is hot, add in your meat and sear on all sides.

Remove the beef out of the pot and set aside. Turn the heat down to medium low, while you saute your onions in that pot. Add some salt and pepper and saute to the onions and heat until translucent. The garlic is added into the pot next. Saute for a minute or two until fragrant. Time for the tomato paste. Mix all, scraping the bottom to get the beef drippings up. Pour in the wine and stir. Pour in the beef stock. Introduce the beef back into the pot. Place in the fresh sprigs of thyme. Bring the pot up to a simmer. Cover. Place in the oven for one hour.

Remove the pot from the oven, stirring the stew. Add in the cut carrots and potatoes. Place the pot back into the oven, covered, for another hour to an hour and a half. You want everything to be tender when tested.

On the stove, turn your heat up to medium high and stir in the cornstarch water slurry. Mix and remove from the heat, stirring in the peas, salt and pepper to taste.

Sarah Schweitzer is dual-certified in Culinary Arts and Baking & Pastry from the Escoffier School of Culinary Arts (www.escoffier.edu). She is a former line cook for Chef Robert Irvine at “Fresh Kitchen by Robert Irvine” which was located at the Downtown Allentown Market. Sarah is currently working as a Sous-Chef and pastry chef at Ateira’s on First. She can be reached at sarah.schweitzer18@gmail.com.

Merlot beef stew