A bowl of hearty beef stew is topped with puffed-up pastry letters!
- 3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
- 3 pounds beef chuck cubes
- 2 small onions, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste or ketchup
- 4 carrots, peeled and cut on an angle into 1-inch pieces
- 1 17.3-ounce box thawed frozen puff pastry
- 1 1/2 cups thawed frozen peas
- Pre-heat the oven to 325°F. In a Dutch oven or large pot, heat 2 teaspoons EVOO over medium heat for 1 minute.
- Pat the meat dry. Working in three batches, cook the meat, without moving it, until browned, 2 minutes. Turn the meat and sear all over, 2 minutes per side; transfer to a plate.
- Add the remaining 1 teaspoon EVOO to the pot. Add the onions and cook, stirring, over medium heat, until golden, about 5 minutes.
- Mix in the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes (the mixture will be dry). Stir in the broth 1/2 cup at a time. Simmer, stirring, until the mixture thickens. Add the tomato paste.
- Put the meat back in the pot; add the juices from the plate. Cover and bake, stirring once, for 1 hour 45 minutes.
- Add the carrots; cover and keep baking until the carrots are tender, 20 minutes. Remove the stew from the oven; let rest while you make the pastry letters.
- Increase the oven to 400°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Unfold the puff pastry on a floured surface. Using 3-inch alphabet cookie cutters, cut out the dough. Transfer to the baking sheets. Bake until the letters are puffed and golden, 15 minutes.
- Stir the peas into the stew. Divide among bowls, then top with the pastry letters.