Monday, March 17, 2014

My Rustic Beef Stew

Photo: msbuenavida here
A hearty beef stew is a popular dish. Definitely, comfort food, which many of us grew up eating, often in winter. I made a pot over the weekend using ingredients I had on hand. It turned out especially delicious! Sooo. I'm sharing the recipe for a purely selfish reason ... so I'll remember how to make it again. I can always come back here to look it up! Here are all the ingredients that went into the pot:

Rustic Beef Stew (my style, um, um!)

Ingredients: 

½ - 2 pounds beef, cut into large cubes (chuck, round, London broil, or whatever is on sale)
A sprinkle of olive oil­
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper (12 turns of the pepper mill)
1 tablespoon flour
1 onion, chopped, big chunks
3 stalks celery, diced
4 carrots, cut into big bite-size pieces
2 parsnips, cut into big pieces
3 medium potatoes cute into chunks
1 tomato, diced.
1 teaspoon dried garlic
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon dried rosemary
sprinkle of thyme
sprinkle of nutmeg
5 cups water
1 big bay leaf
dash of dried cilantro
dried parsley
A tiny sprinkle red pepper flakes (Adds a kick without the heat. Careful: Too much adds heat.)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (Sprinkle and just eyeball the amount.)
2 large beef, or chicken bouillon cubes (Doesn't really matter which flavor.)
1 teaspoon vinegar
A spinkle of soy sauce

optional: I had a handful of mushrooms in the refrigerator, so they went in, but don't go to the store for them; you have enough beef and chunks and flavor without mushrooms. In the spring if you have asparagus, dice and toss in.

Directions: 

1) Sear the beef with a tiny bit of olive oil in a 6 quart enameled cast iron pot until golden brown. While browning, salt and pepper the beef. Dust the seared meat with flour.
2) Next add the onions, celery, carrots, parsnips and spices as listed. Saute for about 5 minutes.
3) Add the water, bay leaf, cilantro, red pepper flakes, Worcestershire sauce, bouillon cube and vinegar.
4) Bring to a boil and simmer on a low heat for about 2 hours.
5) Cut the potatoes in big chunks and dice the tomato; add to the pot and let simmer on low heat for another hour, or so. Garnish with iron-rich parsley.

Tips: In cooking if you want vegetables to disappear into the sauce, dice them up small. If you want the vegetables to remain spearable-with-a-fork, cut into big pieces. With this stew the only vegetables I dice small are the tomato and celery.

The cooking time may vary, depending on the cut of beef you use. Cook until the meat is tender. Lean cuts of beef (examples: round, London broil) are cheaper, tougher and require a longer cooking time to break down the tissues, but are very flavorful when tender. Lean is good!

Extra tips: If you have frozen peas in your freezer, throw a half of cup or so into the pot at the end of the cooking time. It adds nutrients and a pop of green to the dish. If I need to thicken the stew, I dip some of the stew broth into a bowl, let it cool off, then whisp 2 tablespoons of flour into the broth, dissolving completely before pouring it back into the stew. Next I turn the flame on as low as I can get it, letting the dish cook for 10-15 minutes. That usually thickens the stew to the perfect consistency.

Click here to learn more about beef cuts.

Needless to say, beef stew is scrumptious on day 1 and excellent as leftovers. Serve with cornbread or hard crusted, whole grain bread.

My next post will address how to reduce your grocery bills, so check back in a couple of days for tips.

You may also enjoy:
Savor The Salt Of The Earth
Healthy Lentil And Quinoa Soup
Secret Recipes From Popular Restaurants
Waste Not Want Not Native American Style

4 comments:

  1. A great recipe, Debra, and I have copied it out. With winter coming over here (hopefully!) we enjoy a hearty stew, especially my husband!

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    Replies
    1. Glad to share a successful recipe, Patricia. :)

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  2. Debra, I want to tell you this is the best beef stew I have ever made! Great blog you have here!

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  3. Thank you for letting me know, Shannon. I love it too. I once made a delicious loaf of raisin bread by trial and error, like this stew. Unfortunately, I didn't record the ingredients and have never been able to duplicate the results. Not going to happen with this stew. :)

    Enjoy.

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