It’s been a wild month at House Morell.  I’ve started into my new job as a school media specialist/librarian, and got sorta lost in the details of launching the school year.  While it is undoubtedly a dream job for me, it’s been a challenge to get up to speed in a new role.  I have also been spending a fair bit of time catching up on what the kids are reading.  (I got more than a few odd looks at the hair dresser the other day, as I read the perennial 2nd grade favorite Ivy + Bean while under the dryer.  Hey, I thought it was far more entertaining than the obvious alternative: People magazine.)

I never have multi-tasked particularly well while in transition, so once again I took a break from blogging.

(This little blog of mine is going to be a marathon with lots of breaks, instead of a sprint… and I’m at peace with that… hope you are too!)

But I have been cooking up a storm.

Saturday was one of those dreamy fall days (for me), that the only absolute “must-do” was cooking for a dinner with friends, and watching football with my family.  (Never mind the “should-do” list, which I basically ignored.  The laundry can always wait another day.  Or at least almost always.)

I was craving a lovely pot of stew, so tinkered with a fail-proof classic recipe (hello Ina’s Beef Bourguignon) to add a few twists inspired by a pair of Food and Wine recipes.  Once involved Port wine, the other, Honeycrisp apples and Anjou pears. A trio of delightful fall ingredients.

Oh. My. Word.  This was one of the best stews I have ever made.  Rich and meaty and slightly sweet and totally amazing.

My dear friend Anne said: I think you had better sit down and write down how you made this.”  So I did.

Though it took a few days.

Let this become your new go-to fall stew recipe, my friends… I know it will be mine.

One year ago:  Tio’s Chimichurri


Beef Stew with Port Wine, Apples and Pears
Serves: 6
  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 4 ounces dry cured center cut applewood smoked bacon
  • 2½ pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon good quality steak seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon flour (I used red mill farms gluten-free flour)
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced
  • 6 carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
  • 4 teaspoons chopped garlic (4 cloves)
  • 1 cup tawny port
  • 2 ½ cups good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir
  • 2 ½ cups beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 honey crisp apples, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 anjou pear, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat until crisp. Remove the bacon, and when it is cool enough to handle, cut into ½ inch bits. Set aside.
  3. Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with steak seasoning and a bit of flour. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. If the meat begins to stick to the bottom of the pot, add a glug or two of extra olive oil between batches. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.
  4. Toss the onions in the fat in the pan and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are starting to become translucent.
  5. Add the carrots and celery and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, port and red wine.
  6. Add the tomato paste and thyme.
  7. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for 1½ hours.
  8. In the meantime, saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned.
  9. After the first hour and a half, pull the stew out of the oven, add the mushrooms, the apple and the pear, and return to oven for another hour, until the beef and vegetables are tender.


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7 Responses to "Beef Stew with Port Wine, Apples and Pears"
  1. Jenny says:

    Oh, this stew sounds wonderful! I love to make stew in the fall and winter, and I have never put apples and pears in one. I bet it smells and tastes divine!

  2. Your new job sounds so exciting! And, I love when people view blogging as a marathon (rather than feeling poorly about themselves when they take a break). I just went apple picking yesterday, and your recipe is right up my alley. Happy FF, and have a wonderful weekend. 🙂

  3. This stew looks amazing! I love wine flavors in beef recipes, and adding the apples and pears would be delicious too! Congratulations on landing your dream job!

  4. I can’t get over how wonderfully comforting and hearty this dish looks. A real winner; great job!

  5. I love stew and this recipe looks like a definite keeper!

  6. Liz says:

    What a wonderful idea to include apples and pears, perfect for the season. I can only imagine how your home smelled while this was in the oven. It looks like you made a roux and added it at the end, is that right? Some of the ingredients don’t have directions for their use.

    Thank you for bringing this to FF. Great idea and I have pinned it.

  7. I just came upon your blog and love it. Good luck with your new job . I share your feelings about blogging , it should be fun .

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