Beef stew; a great winter warming food that will fill your kitchen with a wonderful smell as it cooks. Plus, there are always leftovers.
There as many beef stew recipes out there as there are people with a stove. Most of my posts are geared for aspiring cooks.
You can use any cut of beef for a stew; bone in? Throw the bone in the stew too. The marrow will add an additional depth to the flavor. Be sure to remove the bone before serving.
Boneless? beef shoulder, chuck roast, rump roast, sirloin (my favorite), it doesn’t matter. Cut your meat into large chunks, or bite sized chunks.
Best to brown your meat first. I use a cast iron skillet. It retains the heat better, will cook faster, and can slightly char your meat.
You can toss thinly sliced onions into your meat as it browns; garlic too, but will require more frequent stirring as garlic can burn, and it will ruin your batch.
If you are making a really large batch of stew, you may have to go two rounds of browning your meat, and that’s OK.
What about your stew pot? Will you use a crock pot? It will take all day, and that may be just what you need as you prepare other items for your stew.
Regardless, you should plan your other ingredients before you start cooking.
Potatoes…for sure…reds or Russets? Either will work, I prefer reds as they do not fall apart as easily as Russets. You can use the New Reds as they very small. With red potatoes, I remove the eyes, but do not peel them. They will hold together better with the peel on. Yes, you can still cut them into halves or quarters, if they are very large. If you do it this way, your taters can cook all day with your beef.
Celery? not too much, but 2-3 stems are OK.
Green pepper? sure not too many, coarsely chopped for the entire cook.
Onions? half or quarters for the entire cook.
Other veggies, squash, turnips, rutabaga will work but not many. Squash will get very mushy so put it in late.
I have used canned corn, drained and rinsed well in the last couple hours of the cook.
Green beans will work too, but not for the entire cook.
Many items go in later as they will over cook.
Get your beef going first and into your stew pot or crock pot before adding the rest of your veggies.
I use chicken broth with water. One can add dry wine or burgundy too…but that’s a different recipe.
The Pioneer Woman has a ton of great recipes out there for free.
For seasoning, I just use a couple of bay leaves; be sure to remove them before serving. You can season your bowl of stew upon eating.
as you are browning your meat, start your crock pot with chicken broth and water…how much? how big is your pot? 6 quart? 8 quart? I would start with at least a quart of chicken broth. If you add boiling water, it will heat up quicker. Your crock pot can take 2-3 hours to get to simmering if all is cold. It will take 6-8 hours to cook in your crock pot. Start on high, then to low after it begins to bubble.
Preheat your cast iron skillet with nothing in it for 10 minutes on medium as you cut your meat.
When your meat is ready, toss in 2-3 tablespoons of butter and some olive oil, then your meat. Let your meat sizzle for several minutes before stirring. When you turn or stir, add your sliced onions if desired. Cook for 5 more minutes, then put your meat into pot. Repeat, if you have a large batch.
You can add minced garlic to your meat as well, but keep it stirring.
Add your meat to your crock pot and cover. Now, leave it alone.
Don’t start timing until the meat is simmering, then add your first round of veggies after a couple hours; potatoes, carrots, onions and peppers…canned corn last with squash.
My favorite stew is very basic; beef, carrot, maybe one quartered onion, and potatoes. I cook these all day from the beginning.
I have been known to drain the stew when finished, make a gravy with the water/juice, and add it back to the crock.
A thickened stew is more tasty in my opinion.
One could experiment with cornstarch; perhaps 1/2 C water with 1/3 C cornstarch(depending on size of batch) mixed together, then added to bubbling stew. You will have to stir it in, leave it until it begins to bubble again.