At first discovery, this recipe read like a man-cave cooking mash-up gone awry–a collision of beef bourguignon and Hungarian goulash, with some Southwestern chili pot elements mixed in. It called for a bottle of red wine, beef stew meat and lots of onions and carrot, plus chili powder and kidney beans, Hungarian paprika and a finishing dollop of paprika-dusted sour-cream. But with a few tweaks (like a big ixnay on the kidney beans) the stew is quite good. Digging in to its history, we discovered that this ragout was once the daytime specialty of the house at New Jersey’s Ho-Ho-Kus Inn & Tavern, a landmark restaurant that’s been around since the 1790s. Jean Hewitt mentioned the dish in her three-star New York Times review of the restaurant in April, 1975, calling it a “week-day specialty beef-in-wine stew.” And writer Barbara Kraus included it in her 1973-published compilation of America’s Best Restaurant Recipes. I’ll keep chatting with the owners/former owners of the Inn to see if I can find more details. But in the meantime, do give it a try.
Makes 12 servings
Ragout of Beef Huntsman Ingredients
- six slices bacon, cut fine
- 3 lbs boneless beef chuck, cut into small cubes
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp fresh cracked pepper (or more to taste)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 to 4 Tbsp vegetable oil (olive, canola or grapeseed–we used grapeseed) as needed
- 3 onions, peeled, halved and cut into slices
- 5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 3/4 tsp Hungarian paprika, divided
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 3 carrots, peeled and cut into large matchsticks
- 2 small turnips, peeled and cubed
- 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1/2 cup plus 2 1/2 cups beef stock
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 3 cups dry red wine
- 1, 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup good quality whole frozen green beans
- sour cream, to garnish
- In a heavy saute pan, brown bacon until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon to a large enameled Dutch oven.
- In a bag, shake beef with flour, salt and pepper to completely coat the beef
- In batches without crowding in the pan, brown beef in the bacon fat until well browned. Add a small amount of vegetable oil as needed. Remove browned beef to the Dutch oven.
- Add a small amount more vegetable oil to the pan. Saute onion and garlic until soft and golden. Sprinkle with 1 Tsp of the paprika. Stir to incorporate. Remove the cooked onion/garlic to the Dutch oven.
- Melt butter in the pan. Toss the carrot, potato and turnip to coat and cook 10 minutes until slightly browned. Add 1/2 cup beef stock, the chili powder and 1/2 tsp more paprika. Simmer, covered, until the vegetables are al dente. Remove to the Dutch oven.
- Add the wine and the 2 1/2 cups remaining beef stock to the Dutch oven. Stir. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 1/2 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in tomato paste and diced tomatoes. Cook ten minutes more.
- Cut green beans in half and stir into stew. Cook five minutes more until beans are bright green and heated through.
- Serve stew garnished with an optional dollop of sour cream on each serving. Dust sour cream dollops with remaining 1/4 tsp of paprika.