On Sundays, I love to have something cooking all day in the kitchen - especially in the Fall and Winter months.  There is something so comforting about a big pot simmering on the stove or braising in the oven all day long.  As soon as the cool mornings hit, I can't wait to get into the kitchen and throw some beef, wine, garlic and herbs into a pot.

This braised beef recipe was derived from my "Tuscan Short Ribs" recipe, but uses Beef Stew Meat instead.  You can easily find Stew Meat at the grocery store - it is usually the trimmings of roasts and steaks that were leftover when cutting the large pieces.  At about $5 a pound, it is a steal and usually very high quality and lean.  I find that if I cook it for at least 4 hours, it always breaks down into very tender, shredding beef that is perfect for stews and pasta.

The "Tuscan" part of this recipe is the rosemary, wine and olives that really perfume the beef stock as it cooks.  I like to serve it over chive mashed potatoes or with really crusty bread that has been toasted and rubbed with a garlic clove.

For these types of recipes, I use my Staub dutch oven (that I featured in my USA Today Modern Woman Fall Entertaining article), but you can also use a crock pot for the all day simmering or sauce pan with a lid that can go from stove top to oven. 
Tuscan Braised Beef Stew 
with Mashed Potatoes

2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 teaspoons of sea salt
1 teaspoon of pepper

1/4 yellow onion, quartered
2 pounds of Beef Stew Meat
2 cups of red wine
4 cups of beef broth
1 cup of whole green olives, halved
6 cloves of garlic, rough mince
2 sprigs of rosemary
1 cup of mushrooms, halved
4 sprigs of thyme
4 carrots, medium dice
mashed potatoes
and/or french bread

Heat oven to 250 degrees.

Season beef with salt and pepper. In a large dutch oven, sear stew meat and onions on high heat, for 2-3 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.  Add red wine, broth, olives, rosemary, mushrooms and thyme.  Remove from heat, cover and put it into the oven. 

Slow cook in the oven at 250 degrees for at least 4, but up to 6-8 hours. 

Remove the stew from the oven when the meat is tender and shredding.  Remove the herb stems.  Add carrots to the pot and cook on the stove top for 20 minutes until the carrots are tender.  Serve with mashed potatoes and french bread.