Old-fashioned Beef Stew ("Zharkoye")
Prep time: 15 minutes
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds beef chuck, cut into chunks
3 cups chopped onions
1 pound button or cremini mushrooms, quartered if small or 1/4-inch sliced (optional)
1 quart beef broth
1 cup carrot, peeled and chopped into 1-inch chunks
3 cups potato, peeled and chopped into 3/4-inch to 1-inch chunks
Dill for garnish
Water (if you need)
1 In a Dutch oven or other large, lidded pot, add olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add enough pieces of the beef to sear in the pot without crowding. You will need to brown the meat in several batches. Salt the beef as it cooks, and set aside browned pieces in a bowl.
2 When all the beef has browned, add the onions. As the onions release some of their water, use a wooden spoon to scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Sprinkle a little salt over the onions as they cook. Lower the heat to medium and cook the onions until they begin to brown, 5-6 minutes.
3 When the onions have lightly browned, mix in the mushrooms and increase the heat to high. Cook the mushrooms until they release their water, about 2-3 minutes.
4 Add the beef back to the pot. Add 1 cup of the stock and use the wooden spoon to scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Add the rest of the stock and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot, lower the heat to low and simmer very gently for 1 hour. Add water in you need to.
5 Add the potatoes and carrots, stir well and recover the pot. Simmer gently until the carrots and potatoes are tender, between 20-30 minutes.
Yield: Serves 4-6.