A great thing about seasonal foods is that just when you’re bemoaning the end of one season, not ready for a change, up pop the provisions for the next, creating culinary and dining excitement anew. In Autumn, the mounds of new crop walnuts, robust heads of mature garlic, bouquets of lush parsley do that for me. Together with a hearty beef stew, they offer a plate replete with simple things that can change your meal-making tune from “must I?” to “can do!”
Extra virgin olive oil
12 large cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
2 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, in 2-inch chunks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups white wine
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 bay leaf
2/3 cup walnut halves
Dressed Parsley, for serving (see the sidebar)
1. Preheat the oven to 325 F.
2. Heat a large skillet lightly filmed with olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic to the skillet and cook until beginning to color, about 1 minute. Transfer the garlic to an oven dish, such as a clay pot, and set aside.
3. Sprinkle the beef generously with salt and pepper. In uncrowded batches, brown the meat all around, about 2 to 3 minutes per batch, adding a little more olive oil if necessary. Transfer to the dish with the garlic and continue with another batch until all the meat is browned.
4. Add the wine, tomato paste, cloves, and coriander to the skillet and stir to mix. Bring to a boil and pour over the meat in the baking dish. Tuck in the bay leaf, cover the dish, and place in the oven. Cook until the sauce is bubbling and the meat is tender, 1 1/2 hours.
5. Meanwhile, spread the walnuts on an oven pan (crowding is okay) and place in the oven alongside the stew dish. Cook until the walnuts are nicely toasted, about 8 minutes. Remove and set aside.
6. Make the dressed parsley topping and set aside.
7. When the stew has cooked for 1 1/2 hours, stir the toasted walnuts into the dish and continue cooking uncovered until the meat is falling apart tender and the sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes.
8. Remove the bay leaf and serve, garnished with the dressed parsley on top.