French Country Beef Stew

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In France, this classic stew made with beef, vegetables and red wine would be known as a daube. Slow-cooking the surprisingly lean beef shanks melts and softens the connective tissue, producing succulent results. If you prefer, use nonalcoholic wine. Serve with barley to soak up the delicious sauce.

French Country Beef Stew
Nutritionist Tested & Approved

Time: 450 minutes (35 minutes prep)

  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 4 slices turkey bacon, coarsely chopped

  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion, (2 medium)

  • 1 1/2 cups diced carrots, (2 medium)

  • 1/2 cup diced celery, (1 stalk)

  • 3 cups reduced-sodium beef broth

  • 2 cups dry red wine, such as Merlot or Zinfandel

  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or 1/2 teaspoon dried

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 2 2 1/2-inch-long strips orange zest

  • 3 1/2-3 3/4 pounds sliced beef shank, (see Note), trimmed

  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

  • 1/2 cup chopped watercress, or parsley

  1. Heat oil in a 4- to 5-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add onions, carrots and celery; cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add broth, wine, thyme, bay leaves and orange zest. Bring to a boil.

  2. Rinse beef with cool water to remove any bone bits. Place the beef in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker and turn heat to high. Carefully pour the hot vegetable mixture over the beef. Put the lid on and cook until the beef is falling-apart tender when prodded with a fork, 6 to 7 hours.

  3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked beef to a bowl. Lift out the bones. Scoop marrow out and add to the meat, if desired; discard bones. Break the meat into 2- to 3-inch chunks with a spoon. Cover and keep warm.

  4. Discard the bay leaves and orange zest from the sauce; skim fat. Pour the sauce into a large skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil, skimming froth from time to time, for about 20 minutes, to intensify flavors and thicken slightly. Season with pepper. Add the beef and heat through. To serve, ladle the stew into bowls and sprinkle with watercress (or parsley).

  5. Baked Beef Stew variation:

  6. Total: 4 1/4 hours

  7. Preheat oven to 350°F. In Step 1, use only 1 1/2 cups broth and 1 1/2 cups red wine. In Step 2, place beef and vegetables in a Dutch oven, cover and bake for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Skim fat. Discard the bay leaves and orange zest. Lift out the bones, scoop marrow and add, if desired; discard the bones. Break the meat into chunks. Blend 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 1/4 cup water; stir into the stew. Return the pan to the oven and bake, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes.

Note: If you cannot find beef shank, substitute cubed stewing beef.

If preparing ahead of time: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator, if necessary, and reheat on the stovetop, in a microwave or in the oven.

Nutritional Facts

Dietary Fiber
Monounsaturated Fat
Saturated Fat
Carbohydrate Servings
1 vegetable
4 lean meat

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3 replies

auburnangel 2015-11-19 21:00:47 -0400 Report

It's that time of year for soups and just learning how to cook right for me and my husband with diabetes has been a challenge until I found this website. Tonight I made this recipe and it was awesome I didn't think the rest of the family would like it but they loved it. The only thing I added to the recipe was a bag of frozen mixed gumbo mix to it for more vegetables and it was delicious. I was told to add it to my recipe collection. Thanks for this great recipe.

Lentyl 2012-09-09 14:06:35 -0300 Report

This sounds delicious. It would be a good Saturday recipe when I have more time. Tasty leftovers for the coming week too.