Saturday, February 13, 2010

Beef Stew 101

I can’t believe that the last time I made beef stew was over 10 years ago…..

I liked beef stew but never even thought about making it until I noticed my mother warming up some canned stew. She was in her 70’s and had lost interest in cooking by this time and if it hadn’t been for my father wanting fed, (he was of the old school….cooking was women’s work) she would probably have lived on scrambled eggs, frozen dinners, snack foods and sweets. She also, although at the time we didn’t know it, was beginning to show signs of Alzheimer’s type dementia…so not only didn’t she feel like cooking I’m not really sure how capable she was of cooking a whole meal. Anyway, back to the stew….she opened this can of stew and not only didn’t it look appetizing but, pardon the comparison, it smelled like dog food….yuck! I decided then and there that this had to stop. I pulled out my trusty Betty Crocker cookbook (one that Mom gave me when I was in high school) and found a recipe for beef stew that I thought my parents would like.

This is the recipe that I found….it suited my father…the meat and potatoes man and my mother’s finicky tastes…she was a very picky eater. It had a few ingredients in it that I knew she wouldn’t eat, like parsnips or turnips or something… I can’t remember exactly, so I just left them out and added a few more potatoes. This made a large batch of stew….enough to feed my parents, my brother Dale, who was living in the apartment above the garage, and me….plus plenty left over for a couple more meals for Mom and Dad. I usually served this with some nice warm bread.

My parents are both gone now…my dad almost 10 years ago and Mom four (three years before that she was in nursing home care) ….my brother is now married and lives in Lexington. Since I’ve been cooking mostly for myself all these years, I usually just grill something on the George Foreman and make a vegetable, make pasta or an omelet. Now that Michael and I have been seeing each other….and it’s been long enough now that we aren’t going out as often and I’ve been cooking more. I try to keep from making the same old meals all the time and since it has been so cold and snowy out, I thought about beef stew. It’s a nice hardy dish to have this time of year.

1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons shortening
6 cups hot water
5 medium potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes (5 to 6)
4 carrots cut into 1-inch slices
1 cup sliced celery (1-inch pieces)
1 medium onion, diced (about ½ cup)
1 tablespoon salt
2 beef bouillion cubes
1 bay leaf

Mix flour, 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Coat meat with flour mixture. Melt shortening in large skillet; brown meat thoroughly.

Add water; heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 2 hours. Stir in remaining ingredients. Simmer 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender

If desired, thicken stew. In covered small jar, shake 1 cup cold water and 2 to 4 tablespoons flour until blended. Stir into stew; heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove bay leaf before serving.

I bought meat that was already cut up for stew.

Place on paper towels and blot with a paper towel to remove excess blood and moisture.

Mix together flour, salt and pepper in a food storage bag

Place half of the meat in bag

Shake, to coat meat with flour mixture - repeat with remaining half of beef.

Melt two tablespoons of shortening in pan

Brown beef

Add water, bring to boil and reduce to simmer

Cover and simmer for two hours.

Celery, carrots, potatoes, bay leaf, boullion and salt - add to pan

Cook for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender

If you want a thicker broth, using a jar with a lid or a Tupperware type shaker, add 2-4 tablespoons to 1 cup cold water and shake. I used two tablespoon of flour.

Pour into stew - bring to a boil, and boil for 1 minute - stirring constantly

This was as good as I remembered! I did miss having Mom help me peel and slice vegetables and then sitting down at the table to enjoy the stew with my parents.

Printable Link for Beef Stew


Sinful Southern Sweets said...

Yum! Perfect for a chilly winters night!

Unknown said...

This is very similiar to the recipe I use only I don't coat the beef with flour. I should give that a looks great. I also like to add a little barley in my stew sometimes.

DutchBakerGirl said...

Your stew looks delicious. I don't know why I never think to make really is comfort food at its best.

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