Old Fashioned Beef Stew!
Just like grandma used to make. Actually, just like mom and dad still make since they sent me the recipe.
Even though it is decidedly NOT fall here in Florida, for some reason when October hits, I still crave traditional fall foods. Last night it was stew and apple crisp.
This came out exactly as I had hoped. Full of tender beef and chunky vegetables. It needs to cook for a few hours but the result is SO worth it.
Here’s what you need:
Beef, Onions, Garlic, Celery, Carrots, Parsley, Potatoes, Diced Tomatoes, Oil, Bay Leaf, Dried Thyme, Peas, Pearl Onions, Flour, Salt & Pepper.
You can buy beef stew meat in the store all ready to go but why pay someone to cut meat up for you? For the same or often LESS money, you can buy a better cut of meat (stew meat in the store tends to be scraps), and cut it up yourself.
I found this lovely chuck roast on sale. You need about 3 pounds of meat. My roast was 3.4 pounds so I figured when I trim away the fat and any small bones, I end up with just about 3 pounds.
I like to trim away any of the big slabs of hard white fat. The meat will still have enough fat marbling to make it nice and tender so we can get rid of this without worry.
There’s no great method here…just trim the good looking sections of meat away from any fat and gristle and cut them into bite sized (about 1 inch) squares.
3 pounds of GOOD stew meat.
Slice 2 large onions. This seems like a lot of onions because it is but they will almost disappear into the stew as it cooks.
Chop up 1/4 cup of fresh parsley, 2-3 cloves of garlic, and 3 ribs of celery.
Grab a dutch oven or big soup pot and heat 2 Tablespoons of oil (olive or vegetable oil) over medium high heat.
Working in 2 batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan, brown the meat on both sides. No need to cook the meat all the way through just get a good brown sear on the edges.
You might need to add just a tiny bit more oil to brown the second batch of meet.
Once you have browned all the meat, add the first batch of meat and any accumulated juices back to the pan. Add all of the onions…
the celery, garlic, and parsley to the pot.
Add 1 (28 ounce) can of diced tomatoes and 3 cups of water to the pot.
Season the stew with 1 big bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, and about 1 teaspoon each salt & pepper.
Bring the pot to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1½-2 hours.
While the stew cooks, peel and slice 4 carrots (about 2 cups). Cube 6-8 potatoes depending on size to equal about 3 cups.
After 1½ hours (if you have 2 hours, even better) taste the meat to see if it is tender. If so, add the carrots and potatoes.
Also add 1 cup of frozen peas and 3/4 cup (about 12) little pearl onions.
The pearl onions are a nice extra touch because all of those sliced onions have given themselves over to the stew broth by now and are long gone.
Besides, the pearl onions look cute in beef stew.
Return the pot to a simmer, cover and cook for an additional hour.
When your stew has cooked for 2½-3 hours total, make a slurry or thickener by whisking 1/2 cup of flour into 3/4 cup of water.
Hey, Gluten Free People – I used gluten free all purpose flour and it worked like a charm. You could also use a tablespoon of cornstarch dissolved into 3 Tablespoons of water as another GF option.
With the soup pot still simmering nicely, pour about 1/2 of the flour mixture into the pot.
Don’t dump it all in at once. You probably will not need all of it. Try about half, let it thicken, and see if you’d like thicker or thinner stew.
Cook the flour mixture into the stew for an additional 5 minutes to thicken.
Add more salt & pepper to taste.
Ladle the stew into big bowls and dig in!
Old Fashioned Beef Stew is perfect for a crisp fall day. Even if you live in Florida where it’s not so crisp.
You can even make it ahead because like most soups and sauces, it only get’s better the next day.
This is the way my family has always made beef stew. When I asked my parents for the recipe, I found out it came from the big red Life Picture Cookbook from 1958.
Anyone else recognize one of these from your childhood?
Some things like good, old fashioned beef stew never go out of style!
Here’s the recipe: adapted from the Life Picture Cookbook