There's nothing particularly fancy about beef stew. It's not all the rage. It's not gourmet. I'm pretty sure it's what peasants used to eat. But it is simple, hearty, and it makes a chilly day feel a little warmer. So every winter beef stew is on my list of of winter foods to make.
Recently I was looking through some Cook's Illustrated recipes and I came across one entitled "Best Beef Stew." The writer of the article was raving about how deep the flavors were and how beefy this stew was. I was intrigued. Usually when I make beef stew I start with pre-packaged beef stew meat, turn to a handy-dandy packet of beef stew seasonings, and follow their directions. It is always good, but not knock-your-socks-off delicious. Could beef stew made from scratch be that much better? There's only one way to find out!