I’ve tried off and on for several days to write this post, trying to create the perfect sentiment about this recipe; about how amazing the beef stew tasted; about how every member of my family who ate it for dinner and again the next day for breakfast or lunch genuflected when I walked into the room; about how I stayed after work and sat relaxing in the break room with my container of hot stew shoveling spoonful after spoonful of it into my mouth before I walked out into the bitterly cold winter night to drive home all warmed up on the inside, happy and full; about how you really ought to make this stew for yourself and savor its perfection; about how you should convert from vegetarianism or veganism just to eat this stew; about how glad you are going to be to write ‘excellent’ across the top of your copy of this recipe.
Looks as if maybe I have finally succeeded in writing an opening paragraph, even if it is only 1 sentence long. And there really don’t need to be any more sentences after this one except the ones in the recipe because if you are not convinced that this is a ‘must’ on your menu by now, there is nothing further that I can say to convince you otherwise.
- 1 pound stew beef chunks
- 4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into large bite-sized chunks
- 4-6 carrots, peeled and cut into approximately 3/4-inch slices
- 1 very large onion or 2 medium onions, large chunky dice
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 4 cups beef stock (more or less as needed)–I used a simple beef stock made from McCormick’s beef base
- salt and pepper, to taste
- cooking oil–I used canola
- Season the beef chunks with salt and pepper as desired.
- Put 1-2 cups of flour in a plastic food storage bag.
- Add the beef chunks to the bag of flour. Twist the bag closed and shake to coat beef with flour.
- Heat a 4-6 quart pot or dutch oven on the stove over medium heat. When hot, add 3 tablespoons oil to the pot.
- Working in batches if necessary, brown the beef chunks in the oil. I brown one side of the beef, then turn it over to brown the opposite side.
- Remove the browned beef from the pot and set aside on a plate.
- The pot should have some nicely browned flour and oil in the bottom. Add a little more oil, if necessary, to saute the vegetables.
- Continuing with a medium heat, add the vegetables to the pot and saute until the onions begin to soften. This will take about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure even cooking and to keep the vegetables from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Sauteing the vegetables allows the flavors to deepen. Do not burn!
- When the onions have softened and the other vegetables are a little past crisp-tender, add the beef chunks back to the pot with the vegetables.
- Add the beef stock and stir to combine all ingredients; bring to a simmer and cook for 2 hours over medium to medium-low heat.
- Just before serving, blend 2 tablespoons flour with 1 cup cool water until smooth. Bring the stew to a low boil. Slowly add the flour/water mixture to the stew, stirring gently to incorporate. Cook for a few minutes until thickened.
Season the beef chunks with salt and pepper.
Add a cup of flour to a plastic food storage bag.
Add the beef chunks to the flour.
Twist the bag closed and shake to coat the beef chunks with the flour.
Brown the beef in a little hot oil in the bottom of a 4-6 quart pot or Dutch oven. Brown on one side first, then turn over and brown on the opposite side. This may have to be done in batches.
Remove the beef chunks to a plate and set aside.
Add the vegetables to the pot and saute them over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened. Sauteeing the vegetables adds flavor depth to the stew because it enhances the natural sugars found in the vegetables. This little trick works well in a variety of soups, stews, and casseroles.
Add the beef chunks back into the pot with the vegetables.
Stir in the beef broth. As you can see…I’m a particularly messy cook when I am pressed for time (had to go to work). Just wanted to give you a picture of true life.
The amount of broth that you add is up to your personal preference. Simmer for 2 hours over medium to medium-low heat.
Just before serving, bring the stew to a boil and thicken with a flour/water mixture. If the stew is too thick, add a little more water; if it is too thin, add a little more flour/water mixture. Now eat a bowl of two of your perfect beef stew with your favorite crusty bread or even all by itself.