Mother Earth Living

Wine + Herbs: Aromatic Red Wine Stew with Gremolata Swirl

By Tabitha Alterman
February/March 2011
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Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Pinot Noir are the “herb-friendliest wines,” most frequently recommended by experts for herb-rich foods.

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Pair It With: Medium or Full-bodied Red Wine

Serves 8

For the stew: 

• 1 bay leaf
• 2 sprigs fresh thyme
• 2 cinnamon sticks
• 1 teaspoon whole cloves
• 1 star anise
• 3 pounds chuck roast, cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 2 large carrots, cut into rounds
• 3 to 5 ribs celery, sliced into 1⁄4-inch pieces
• 3 cloves garlic, diced
• 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 2 large tomatoes, diced
• 2 cups red wine (Cabernet, Merlot or Zinfandel)
• 3 cups beef stock
• 2 tablespoons tomato paste
• Water
• Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Using a square of cheesecloth and some cooking twine, prepare an herb sachet with bay leaf, thyme, cinnamon, cloves and star anise. Set aside.

2. Toss meat with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottom stock pot over medium-high heat. In batches, brown the meat on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch, then set aside.

3. Add onion, celery and carrot to the pot, and sauté for a few minutes. Add garlic and flour, and sauté a couple minutes more. Add tomatoes, scraping up any browned bits. Add wine, stock, tomato paste and herb sachet. Bring to a simmer, then add meat.

4. Reduce heat to medium, cover the pan and simmer for 11⁄2 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove herb sachet, and add water as needed to achieve the soup or stew consistency you prefer. Simmer a few more minutes, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. To serve, ladle soup into bowls, and drizzle an attractive swirl of gremolata (recipe at right) over the top of each portion.

For the gremolata: 

• Zest and juice of 2 lemons
• 4 to 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
• 1 cup fresh parsley leaves
• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Puree all ingredients in a food processor, adding a little water as needed, until everything is fully incorporated into a smooth texture. Keep gremolata in the refrigerator until use.

Tabitha Alterman is the food editor at Mother Earth News and Natural Home magazines. She wonders if a small-fishbowl-sized glass counts as ONE glass of wine.  

Click here for the main article, 50 Ways to Pair Wine with Herbs.

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