Beef Stew with Runner Cannellini Beans

Well, March in the Midwest is living up to it’s reputation – “in like a lamb and out like a lion.” Temperatures dropped to the low 30s today with high winds, and now we’ve got a sleet storm rattling the windows this evening. So, the only thing to do was dig a package of beef stew meat out of the freezer, and simmer up a warming stew on this cold, wet evening.

This stew is pretty similar to the lamb stew I made awhile back, but I really wanted to do this one with some really gorgeous runner cannellini beans that I had in the pantry. Cannellinis are a large, luscious bean, and when simmered in a stew, they absorb whatever spices you’re cooking with. I adore them.

A bowl of this stew really hit the spot, after Turbo (the greyhound) and I returned from a very wet walk around the block – neither one of us wanted to be out there, but I think my dinner was much better than his.

Beef Stew with Cannellini Beans
Serves 6
8 Weight Watchers Points per serving

1lb beef stew meat, cubed, trimmed of fat
3 strips bacon, sliced
1 Tb olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, cubed
2 sprigs rosemary, minced
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 cup red wine
1 red bell pepper, cubed
1/2 lb dry runner cannellini beans
2 large carrots, peeled and cubed
3 bay leaves
2 cups chicken stock
1 14oz can fire roasted chipotle diced tomatoes – Muir Glenn brand
salt & pepper to taste

Beans
1/2 lb dry runner cannellini beans
1/2 onion
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 carrot, sliced in half
2 bay leaves

Soak the beans overnight in a large bowl, covered with 3 inches of water. To cook, pour beans and soaking water into a pot, add half an onion, 3 cloves garlic, carrot and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until beans are mostly done, but still slightly al dente – about a hour and fifteen minutes to 2 hours, depending on how fresh your beans are. Set cooked beans aside.

Stew:

  1. Heat a large dutch oven on the stove over medium heat for a few minutes. Add sliced bacon, and saute until semi crisp. Remove bacon from pot and set aside. Leave 1 tablespoon of fat in the pot, pour out any excess.
  2. Season the cubed beef with salt and pepper. Add half of the beef in one layer to the pot with bacon fat and sear for 2 minutes on each side. Remove beef and set aside, then add remaining beef to the pot and sear.
  3. Remove remaining beef from the pot and set aside. Add 1 T olive oil to the pot, then add the onion, carrot and saute, scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pot. After 2 minutes, add the garlic, rosemary and thyme, stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the red wine, stir and cook for another minute or two.
  4. Add the chicken stock, bell pepper, beans, tomatoes, and beef. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for an hour, stirring occasionally. After an hour, remove the lid, turn the heat up to medium, and reduce the liquid in the stew until it becomes a delicious red gravy, about 20 minutes. Taste, and season with salt and pepper. Chop up a handful of parsley, and stir in at the last moment, then dish it up.

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