Recipe: Garden Bounty Beef Stew with Hay-Roasted Onions [with video]
This recipe is part of the Just Picked series, a partnership between Modern Farmer + Foodterra. Visit our recipe hub for the complete collection, which will be growing throughout the season.
This succulent stew is created by building layer upon layer of flavor. You’ll start by hay-roasting whole onions and searing a trio of steaks—flat iron, petite tender, and sirloin. Next, you’ll sauté a bounty of vegetables in batches. Wait patiently while you simmer all of this goodness in stock (and some IPA), then it’s time to ladle the stew into bowls, top with an herbaceous salad, and enjoy the results of your labor. You will not be disappointed!
- Several large handfuls of hay, enough to fully cover onions (optional)
- 3 onions, peeled and trimmed, left whole
- Olive oil, as needed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 steaks (flat iron, petite tender fillet, and sirloin), preferably grass-fed
- 5–7 carrots, roughly chopped
- 2 leeks, greens removed, white and light green parts quartered and chopped
- 1 head garlic, peeled and chopped
- Large handful haricots verts or green beans, trimmed and roughly chopped
- 4 green peppers, cored, seeded, and chopped
- Kernels from 3–4 ears corn
- 5–7 medium to large tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 can (12 ounces) IPA beer
- 15–18 fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise and cut into half moons
- 1½–2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock, as needed
- 6–8 small turnips, greens roughly chopped, bulbs cut into small cubes and kept separate
- 2–4 summer squash, cut into small cubes
- ¼ cup celery leaves (the smaller inner leaves are usually less bitter)
- ¼ cup micro chives or chives cut into batons
- Small handful basil leaves, lemon basil, and/or regular basil, hand torn
- Small bunch parsley, hand torn
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped preserved orange peel (optional)
Preheat oven to 450°F. Spread out hay, if using, on a sheet of aluminum foil, then douse it with water to prevent it from burning. Coat onions with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Tuck them into the hay and wrap up the foil to create a packet (or simply wrap up the onions, minus the hay), leaving a small opening to allow steam to escape. Roast for 35–50 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure hay remains damp (be careful when opening packet as steam will escape). Onions are done when tender inside and blackened in spots on the outside.
Meanwhile, coat steaks with oil and season with salt and pepper. Preheat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high to high heat on the stovetop. Coat skillet with oil and cook steaks for 4–5 minutes on each side, until seared. Transfer to a platter, cover steaks tightly, and let rest.
When onions are done, remove them from foil packet and cut into large wedges. Add more oil to meat juices left in skillet followed by onions, carrots, leeks, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 5–7 minutes over medium-high heat, until leeks become translucent and vegetables have deglazed the pan. Remove from heat.
Preheat a heavy-bottomed enameled pot over medium-high heat on the stovetop. Coat pot with olive oil and add green beans, green peppers, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until vegetables start to brown a bit, 3–5 minutes, then add onion mixture in skillet to green beans and peppers. Remove from heat while you slice steak and prepare remaining vegetables.
Cut steak against the grain into bite-sized cubes, then return to the same platter to collect any remaining juices. Reduce oven temperature to 325–350°F.
Return cast-iron skillet to medium-high heat, then remove from stovetop. Coat pan with oil, add corn, and use the residual heat to cook corn, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and let cook in hot pan for another 2–3 minutes. Transfer corn and tomatoes to pot with the other vegetables and return pot to medium-high heat. Add beer and juices from steaks and cook for 4–5 minutes more, until the alcohol has burned off. Add potatoes, steak, and enough of the stock to just cover the vegetables.
Cover pot and braise stew in oven until potatoes are just starting to break down, 1½–2 hours. (Or simmer on stovetop for about 2 hours, or transfer stew to a crockpot set to medium heat and cook for 4–5 hours.) To finish stew, stir in turnip greens. Coat diced squash and turnips with oil, season with salt and pepper, and add to the pot. Cover and let rest.
Meanwhile, prepare herb salad. In a medium bowl, toss together celery leaves, micro chives, basil, parsley, orange zest, and preserved orange. Season with pepper and add just enough oil to coat leaves. Ladle stew into serving bowls and top with herb salad.