An orthopedic surgeon
with a love for good food, Tim Williams has sat down with some of Indy’s top chefs for his Back of House Productions video series. When he craves something solid and home-cooked, he makes a big pot of beef stew (which he pairs with a rustic loaf of chef Mark Bittman’s No Knead Bread). Williams shares his beef stew recipe with us. His secret ingredient? A few globs of yeasty, salty Marmite. “I was born in the UK, so I am familiar with the flavor of Marmite, even though I don’t enjoy it on bread like the Brits do,” he says. “I added it on a whim once because I thought the yeastiness might add some complexity.”
- 2 pounds stew beef
- Steakhouse seasoning (St. Elmo has a nice one)
- Olive oil
- Butter or bacon fat (optional)
- 1 large or 2 medium onions
- Clove of garlic, minced
- Cognac, brandy, or vermouth for deglazing
- Marmite or Vegemite (optional)
- 2 parsnips
- 3–4 carrots
- Bay leaf
- Black pepper
- Red wine
- Beef stock
- Mushrooms (optional)
- Frozen peas (optional)
- Cut stew beef into 1-inch pieces. Shake in a bag with flour and steakhouse seasoning.
- Brown the beef in batches in an enameled casserole dish using olive oil. Add a little butter or maybe some bacon fat as well if you’re really feeling dirty. Set browned beef aside in a large bowl with any residual juice.
- Add more olive oil to the pan and sauté onions until soft and turning. Add garlic and sauté briefly. Then with onions still in the pan, deglaze the pan with cognac or brandy or maybe vermouth. Whatever you have on hand as long as it’s boozy.
- Add back the beef, plus juices.
- Secret ingredient: Marmite/Vegemite (yes, they are the same). Stir in a tablespoon to coat the beef and onions. If you don’t have this, the stew will still be delicious. Don’t let this step hold you back.
- Add in chopped parsnips and chopped carrots.
- Add in bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, and black pepper to taste. Do not salt at this stage. There is plenty in the beef stock.
- Add in at least half a bottle of red wine. You can use Guinness or other dark beer as well, but use a little less wine if you do. Try not to drink all the wine before this step.
- Add in 1 cup of beef stock. (Can add more beef stock later if more liquid is needed.)
- Heat to bubbling, stirring occasionally. Cover and simmer about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
- Taste at this point and add water if too salty or add more beef bullion if needed. Salt if necessary, but it should be super delish by now without it.
- During last half hour, add in some chopped potatoes (redskins are nice).
- Optional: In the last 15 minutes, add some sautéed mushrooms and/or frozen peas.
- Stew is done when the potatoes are cooked through. Serve immediately with a crusty bread to wipe up the juices. The leftovers (if any) will taste even better the next day.