Beef with carrots

(Beatrice Peltre for The Boston Globe)
December 16, 2009

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Serves 4 with leftovers

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 pounds boneless stew beef (such as chuck, top or bottom round, shank), cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 red onion, thinly sliced
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 pound (about 8) carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 stalk celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups cold water, or more if necessary
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. In a large flameproof casserole or Dutch oven over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. When it is hot, add the butter. When it melts, add half the meat to the pan. Cook, without moving the meat, for 3 to 4 minutes or until it is brown. Turn the meat and brown the other sides for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the meat from the pan and brown the remaining meat in the same way; remove it from the pan with any juices from cooking.

2. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan. Add the onion and 1 spring of thyme. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.

3. Add the carrots and celery and cook 2 minutes more. Add the white wine and return the meat and its juices to the pan. Add the water - it should just cover the meat - with the bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and cover the pan. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours or until the meat is very tender when pierced with a skewer. Serve with brown rice. Garnish with remaining thyme. Béatrice Peltre