When it’s cold outside, I love to put on some type of meat to braise or a soup to simmer on the stove. It just makes everything seem just a little warmer inside and we get to spend the day smelling the aromas of cooking food. Pasta sauce and chili are also great for helping to make a really cold day better. Over the last arctic blast that just left Denver at below freezing for over a week, I popped a 7-bone beef chuck roast in the pot with a little red wine, chili, chocolate, coffee and cinnamon to simmer away and make my Braised Beef Stew in Mole Sauce.
Now this is not a completely traditional mole sauce but it does have all the ingredients plus a few that mole has and it is so yummy. The flavors of everything just melded together perfectly to form a nice thick sauce over the beef that pairs well with mashed potatoes or freshly made pasta noodles (I served it over a potato and parsnip mash). And like most stews, it was even better the next day. If you can resist not eating it all the first day or try making it a day early, you will be happy with the flavors the stew imparted the next day. Of course the resisting eating it all the first day is the hardest because it really is quite tasty.
The 7-bone beef chuck roast is generally a very large roast. I grabbed one at the store because I knew I was going to cut it up into stew beef and I could use the bones and inedible pieces to make the beef stock that I needed for this recipe. The easiest way to handle it is to cut the sections up based on the tendon and muscle areas, which makes them small enough to get a good sear on most of the meat. Searing gives too much flavor, don’t skip this step even if you decide to make the stew in a crock pot. As for the needed stock, make your own as I did or buy it already made.
We loved the stew. Hubby claimed it was one of his favorites and asked for me to make it again soon. For those who don’t like chili peppers, it wasn’t overpowering, just enough to compliment the cinnamon, chocolate and coffee flavors. The whole of the sauce was wonderful, thick and yummy especially when served with the mash and the large chunks of beef. It was really a home and belly warming stew full of aromatics and flavors, one I will be making again.
Braised Beef Stew in Mole Sauce
1 Tbsp. sea salt or kosher salt
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground annato
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground chipotle pepper
1 Tbsp. coffee grounds
3 1/2 lb. chuck roast
3 Tbsp. olive oil
3 large carrots, chopped into 1/2″ pieces, divided
1 large onion, large chopped
6 cloves garlic, smashed
1 Tbsp. Dutch Cocoa Dark Chocolate powder
1 lemon, quartered
1/2 tsp. ground chipotle
1 bottle dry red wine
3 bay leaves
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
3 large sprigs fresh rosemary
3 sprigs fresh oregano
3 1/2 cups beef stock
Combine dry rub ingredients and set aside. Tie the fresh rosemary and oregano into a bunch and set aside.
Remove bone and unusable pieces of meat and tendon from the roast and use or save to make beef stock. Cut the rest of the roast into large pieces and generously apply the dry rub. Set the meat aside and allow to come to room temperature, 1 to 2 hours.
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and sear the meat on all sides. Set the meat aside to rest for about 15 minutes, before slicing into large pieces (I cut mine into 2″ chunks). While the meat is resting, add the onion to the pan and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. If you happened to burn the oil, then remove and clean the pan before doing the onions, 1 carrot and garlic and start out with fresh oil or your dish will taste burnt. About half way through the onion cooking, add the carrots and the garlic. Stir the pan carefully to release all the wonderful browned bits from searing the meat.
Once the onions are softened, add the leftover dry rub, Chocolate and more ground chipotle pepper to the pan and cook until fragrant, while stirring. Pour in the bottle of wine and add the tomato paste, bay leaves, beef stock, quartered lemon and bunch of fresh herbs. Finally add the sliced beef chunks and juices to the pan. If your liquids do not cover the meat, add enough water or stock to cover completely. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a slow simmer until meat is tender, about 3 to 4 hours. The liquids will reduce into a beautiful sauce for the meat as they cook down, but do keep an eye on them to insure enough liquid stays in the pan to prevent burning. Add more water or stock if necessary. About one hour before the stew is finished, add the rest of the carrots to the stew. This gives them time to become slightly soft without overcooking.
Once stew is finished, remove the bay leaves, herb stems and lemon pieces before serving. Leave them in if you are going to rest the stew overnight and remove the next day.
Makes about 6 to 8 servings.
More home warming stews: