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Beef Stew with Shitake Mushrooms and Baby Vegetables

6 T. butter, unsalted if preferred, divided
3 lbs. trimmed boneless beef (chuck, sirloin or stew meat), cut into 1 ½ -in. cubes
2 large onions, chopped
¼ c. tomato paste
3 c. dry red wine (such as our 2005 Syrah)
29 oz. beef broth (2 cans)
1 T. dark brown sugar
1 ½ lbs. baby red-skinned potatoes, quartered
30 baby carrots, trimmed
¾ lb. baby pattypan squash, halved
1 lb. fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps thickly sliced
1 T. dried marjoram
Place flour in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in heavy large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat the beef cubes with flour; add to the pot and brown on all sides. Remove when done using a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in same pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until tender, about 6 minutes. Mix in the tomato paste and the red wine. Bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Add the beef broth and the brown sugar, then beef and any accumulated juices. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover partially and simmer 1 ½ hours.
Add potatoes and carrots; simmer uncovered until meat and vegetables are almost tender, about 25 minutes. Add squash; simmer until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and marjoram and simmer until mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

This can be made 1 day ahead and like most stews actually improves in flavor by sitting overnight. If serving the second day, reheat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until hot. This makes a lot of stew and can be easily halved.

Serve with Mount Palomar Syrah


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