Beef and Bell Pepper Stew, from Nick Stellino Cooking with Friends 2
1 1/2 pounds cubed beef stew meat
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 large bell peppers, preferably 1 each red, yellow and green, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces.
1 onion, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces.
2 teaspoons thyme
2 bay leaves
1 cup dry red wine
3 cups Beef Stock
2 cups Tomato Sauce
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
Sprinkle the meat cubes with the salt, pepper and flour, shaking off any excess. Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a Dutch oven set high heat until sizzling, about 2 minutes. Add the meat in a single layer, being careful not to crowd the meat pieces – cook in 2 batches, if necessart. Cook the meat until well-browned on all sides, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate or bowl with a slotted spoon. Set aside.
Add the remaining oil to the same pan set on high heat. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, bell peppers, onion, thyme and bay leaves. Cook until the peppers are beginning to soften and the onion is translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Return the browned meat to the pan along with any juices that have accumulated. Stir in the wine and boil until reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Add the beef stock and tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, with the lid slightly ajar, for 1 hour. Remove the lid and cook for 30 minutes longer. Stir in the parsley and the stew is ready to serve.
To add a sweet-and-sour dimension to the stew, boil 1 tablespoon sugar and 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan set on high heat until reduced by half and quite syrupy, about 2 minutes. Stir the syrup and 1 teaspoon cocoa powder into the finished stew and cook for 2 minutes