The Most Confident Dinner Party Menu

The Most Confident Dinner Party Menu

Skip the cheese course. You don’t even need a dessert. While the nights are still chilly, this stew recipe will satisfy single-handedly and leave you free to raise a glass with your guests.

Total Time: 3 hours

Serves: 4

bowl of beef stew on plaid tableclothperson in dark clothing opening a wine bottle


  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1 quart beef stock
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped, or 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ pound butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1½ pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Crème fraîche, for serving (optional)


  1. In a mixing bowl combine, flour, salt and a few generous cranks of pepper. Toss in beef to coat.
  2. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sear half the beef, turning, until browned on all sides, 5-7 minutes. Transfer browned beef to a bowl and repeat with remaining beef. Set aside.
  3. Add onions, bay leaves and thyme to the Dutch oven, along with a little oil, if needed. Reduce heat to medium-low heat and gently cook until onions are soft and translucent, 5 minutes.
  4. Pour in wine and vinegar to deglaze pot. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up browned bits from the bottom. Gently simmer until liquid reduces slightly, 5 minutes. Add the beef stock, water, Worcestershire, dates and browned beef. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until meat is tender, about 1½ hours. Stir occasionally, skimming any fat as needed.
  5. Add squash and potatoes, cover pot and continue to simmer until vegetables are tender, 30-40 minutes more. If pot appears dry, add a little more beef stock or water. Taste and season as needed. Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche and garnish with thyme leaves.

Original WSJ Article