If you have spent any time at Gaston’s Tavern in the New Fantasyland Area of the Magic Kingdom, you are probably familiar with the Pork Shanks that were served there. Well, much to the dismay of many fans, the Pork Shanks were officially removed from the menu at Gaston’s Tavern in the beginning of November and replaced with the Tavern Beef Stew.
Some think this is an odd replacement given that stew is normally a warm-your-soul comfort food for the winter months and it’s always blazing hot in Florida but the Tavern Beef Stew is a wonderful addition to the menu and fitting for the venue. Perhaps it’s the rustic atmosphere that Gaston’s showcases with it’s unique dining areas boasting wooden tables and stools, a tremendous fireplace and Gaston’s manly chair.
The Tavern Beef Stew at Gaston’s Tavern is made up of flavorful chunks of tender beef, savory carrots, potatoes and caramelized onions and offers a nice filling meal when in the parks. At Gaston’s the dish is served with a wonderful baguette (what do you expect, you’re in France) but I thought it would be fun to put a different Disney spin on it when I was recreating the flavors of this recipe at home.
If you are looking for a warming stew this winter and a little added touch of Disney, Gaston’s Tavern Beef Stew is a great meal for your whole family.
Here’s what you will need:
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 1/2 lbs beef stew meat, preferably chuck, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 1/2 pound yellow onions, sliced
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose (plain) flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 3 carrots, sliced
- 4 red potatoes, peeled and diced
- 3 stalks of celery, chopped
- 1 bottle good-quality amber lager or pale ale
- 1 cup beef or chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- Salt and ground pepper
In a large dutch oven, warm the oil over high heat until hot but not smoking. Working in batches, brown the meat well on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Adjust the heat as necessary to keep the meat from scorching. Transfer the browned meat to a plate and repeat until all the meat is browned, keeping the juices from the meat.
Add the onions and butter to the pot and stir over high heat until the onions start to soften, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and sprinkle in the sugar. Continue to cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Add the flour, thyme, carrots, potatoes and celery and raise the heat to high. Stir for 1 minute, then pour in the lager or ale, letting it come to a vigorous boil. Stir in beef broth and tomato paste and return to a boil.
Return the meat and any accumulated juices on the plate to the pot, let the liquid come just to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the meat is tender when pierced and the sauce is slightly thickened – approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours. You can also simmer your stew in a crock pot on high for 4 hours. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve in a warm, hollowed out sourdough boule and you’re in for a real treat!