by Dr. Alexa Rauscher, Naturopathic Doctor

Even a Naturopathic Doctor has cravings and as the weather changes, I was craving a rich-hearty beef stew.

I live by a very important rule: 80-20. What does this mean? Well 80% of the time, I stick to a certain dietary regime of a lot of vegetables, whole grains and organic protein sources such as chicken and fish. But, when I crave certain foods, I can’t always deny myself. That is where that 20% comes in- 20% of the time I treat myself to certain foods that may not be on my 80% list.

What I often tell patients is that no one is perfect. Even when I give dietary recommendations as part of their treatment protocol, I tell them that they can “cheat” 20% of the time.

Well this beef stew is my cheat. It’s not bad for you, nor should this be on your cheat list; but I don’t often eat beef or potatoes, which is why it has ended up on my cheat list.

Now, as you look below at the recipe, please do not get overwhelmed by the total time. Although I was cooking for sometime that afternoon, I didn’t have to go back into the kitchen to cook for a couple of days because I had amazing left overs for several days afterwards. Also, as I cooked this stew on a rainy Sunday afternoon, I had a movie playing in the background- multitasking at its best! Also, as each day past, the stew got better and better…IT WAS WORTH IT!

Serving Size: 12

Active Time: 1 ¼ Hour

Total Time: 4 ½ Hours



* 5 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 2 inch pieces

* 3 Tbsp Olive oil

* 3 Large Carrot, quartered

* 3 Celery Ribs, quartered

* 2 Medium Onion, quartered

* 1 Head of Garlic, halved crosswise

* 3 Tbsp Tomato Paste

* 1/3 Cup of Balsamic Vinegar

* 1 Bottle Dry Red Wine

* 2 Turkish Bay Leaves

* 2 Thyme Sprigs

* 3 Cups Reduced-Sodium Beef Broth

* 3 Cups Water

Potatoes and Carrots

* 2 ½ Pounds Small White Boiling Potatoes

* 1 ½ Pounds of Carrots

Braise Beef:

Pat beef dry and season with 2 ½ tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper.

Heat oil in pot over medium heat until it shimmers, then brown the meat for 8 minutes, in batches, without crowding, turning. Transfer to a plate.

Next add in the carrots, celery, onions and garlic in the same pot. Stir occasionally, until well browned, about 12 minutes.

Push vegetables to one side of the pot. Add in the tomato paste to cleared are and cook paste, stirring for 2 minutes. After the 2 minutes, mix tomato paste in with the vegetables.

Add the vinegar and cook, stirring for 2 minutes.

Sit in the wine, bay leaves and thyme and boil until wine is reduced by about 2/3, approximately 10-12 minutes.

Add the broth to the pot along with the water, beef, and any juices from the plate, and bring to a simmer. Cover and braise in oven until meat is very tender, about 2 ½ hours.

Set a large colander over a large bowl. Pour stew into colander. Return the pieces of meat to the pot and discard the other solids. Let cooking liquid stand for 10 minutes.

Potatoes and Carrots

While the beef braises, peel the potatoes and cut into ½ inch wide wedges. Slice carrots diagonally (1 inch).

Add potatoes and carrots to the stew (make sure they are submerged) and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until potatoes and carrots are tender, about 40 minutes.

Note: Stew improves in flavour if made at least 1 day ahead. Chill (covered once cook) up to 5 days. Reheat, covered over medium heat or in a 350 Oven.

One thing that I added into this recipe are some very tasty pearl onions. I will fully admit that if time is limited in your life, the pearl onions may not be an addition to your stew. But, since this stew was serving the purpose of feeding my soul, I knew I had to have my pearl onions. The reason why pearl onions are so time consuming is that you have to peel each individual onion. But they are an amazing addition to this dish. I added them into the cooking process at the same time that I added in the potatoes and carrots.

A little Tidbit about…

Wine: Resveratrol, a polyphenol in wine, has been extensively researched for its many health properties. There is so much information out there today that is contradictory about wine. Should you or shouldn’t you have a glass of wine a night for your health. Well, another rule that I live by is everything is moderation. A glass of wine a night can cause certain negative health effects. However, a glass of wine here and there can be beneficial to your body due to this active ingredient resveratrol.

Why is reseveratrol so good? It is a strong antioxidant protecting the body from oxidative damage. It is a heart protector reducing cholesterol triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, protects the heart from free radical damage, reduces atherosclerosis, and promotes healthy blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels.

In addition, resveratrol inhibits nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kB), a protein that feeds cancer cells and causes them to self-destruct.

Resveratrol is also anti-inflammatory, inhibiting the COX-1 enzyme- an enzyme that promotes inflammation in the body.