Sunday, September 7, 2008

Old Fashioned Beef Stew

I had a few pounds of stew beef in my freezer and I was anxious to use it. I really love beef stew. Funny, but my husband has an aversion to beef stew because he ate Dinty Moore Beef Stew all through his childhood. I kept telling him that my beef stew wouldn't taste ANYTHING like that Dinty Moore stuff he ate way back when. I supposed that some people like the canned beef stew but I couldn't imagine eating it as a child. My mom always cooked fresh meals for us each and every day. They weren't always creative meals but they were always fresh and healthy. In fact, she couldn't have been too creative because my sister and I were very picky eaters. We mostly ate spaghetti and meatballs, alio y'olio, steak and potatoes, chicken and french fries, meat loaf, chicken soup, rice balls, etc. She had a slightly Italian twist to her cooking but not too much because of my sister and me. Picky is probably an understatement for what we were. Impossible may have been more like it. Well, I'm over that picky stage now and I like to eat. My thought was to make a beef stew in the slow cooker but without using all the MSG and other chemicals that are in the instant soups. I am also sensitive to using less salt because my husband has high blood pressure and so does my dad. I looked at several recipes that I found on the net and combined two of them. I then decided to throw everything into my slow cooker and let it cook for several hours. It worked out great. My husband is now a beef stew loving convert! D liked it too. He had already eaten dinner and decided to try a small bowl of the stew. His comment was "yum". Again, he really doesn't like veggies so this recipe is a god-send with all the peas, carrots, and green beans. All the recipes I found suggested fresh vegetables but I had a bag of frozen mixed vegetables in the freezer that I used instead. Also, be careful if you are buying pre-made beef broth. I found that even some of the organic brands contain MSG. READ the ingredients!

I've probably mentioned before on this blog how much I HATE lima beans so you'll never find them in any of my recipes. You can, of course, add them to your heart's desire as long as you aren't inviting me over for dinner! I think you'll like this stew. It is tasty and easy to make.

Old Fashioned Beef Stew

2-3 pounds of lean chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
3 tablespoons butter
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 teaspoons tomato paste
2 cups beef broth
1 cup red wine
4 cups sliced carrots
2 russet potatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1 cup chopped fresh green beans
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup cold water
1/4 cup chopped parsley (fresh)
dash salt
dash freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme

Preheat a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat with the oil and butter.

While the pan is heating, arrange the flour on a large dish. Season the cubed beef with some salt and freshly ground pepper (if desired) and then toss in the flour to coat. Shake off the excess flour and add the beef chunks in a single layer to the hot pan, being careful not to over crowd the pan, you might have to work in batches (I did). Thoroughly brown all of the cubes on all sides. Once the beef has been browned remove it to a plate and reserve.

Add the wine to the pan and bring up to a simmer while you scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon being sure to loosen up all those tasty bits. Once the wine has gotten hot add the browned meat, thyme, potatoes, onion, smashed garlic, salt and pepper to taste and beef stock. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered until the liquids start to thicken, about 15 to 20 minutes. I then transferred this to my slow cooker and added all the vegetables, the tomato paste, cold water and the parsley. Cook for 2 hours on high and another 4 hours on low in the slow cooker.

We ate this stew sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and it was really good. Enjoy!

The Creative Cook