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Tasty Beef Stew

Submitted by on January 11, 2010 – 9:55 pmNo Comment

During the beginning of January this year (2010), we had some freakishly cold weather here in the Big D. With windchill, for 2 days in a row it got down to 8 degrees F, which is, oh….about 25 degrees colder than anything normally considered “severe.”  I learned a new lesson during this brief cold stint (a new “Note to Self” to log into my journal). Apparently, if you have a frost-free refrigerator/freezer combo and keep it out in the garage, and the temp falls too low out there, the “defrost” on the freezer kicks on and all your food in the freezer out there starts to THAW OUT!!!!! Imagine my surprise! Lucky, I had gone out there to actually look and see if I had any Beef for Stew that was frozen, as it was so darn cold, Beef Stew just sounded yummy. Well, I ended up having to make Beef Stew out of nearly 4 pounds of Strip Steak that had started to thaw and wouldn’t fit into my other freezer.
It was a good and bad thing I guess. Just goes to show, you can make Beef Stew out of most any cut if need be.  Hey — at least it was on major sale when I bought it!
So — here’s my recipe for Beef Stew.
  • 3 pounds of beef, trimmed and cut into cubes
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Oil, used as needed to brown meat
  • 3 Large Baking Potatoes, Cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 Full Bunch of Celery
  • 7-8 Carrots
  • 1-1/2 pounds of fresh green beans. (frozen works too if the fresh ones don’t look so good)
  • 1 to 1-1/2 Yellow Onions (depending upon size)
  • 2  Lg Cans of Corn
  • 2 Lg Cans of Stewed Tomatoes
  • 2 – 8 oz cans of Tomato Sauce
  • 4 – Beef Bouillon cubes
  • 3 Tbsp Herbes de Provence (or 1 Tbsp dried Oregano, 1/2 Tbsp dried Thyme, 1/2 Tbsp dried Rosemary + 1 Tbsp dried Basil)
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 4 Bay Leaves
  • 6-7 cups of water
Trim Beef of most of the Fat and Cut into Cubes.
Sprinkle Salt and Pepper on Meat in a bowl and toss, add more seasonings, so that the salt and pepper is evenly distributed.
Put meat into a doubled up plastic grocery bag and add flour.
Close up bag, twist several times, invert and shake, using your other hand to separate the meat and encourage even distribution of the flour over all pieces.
Add 1/8 cup oil to a pan to start. Turn heat up to 6 on the stovetop. Let oil heat for a bit, but not to the point of smoking or anything. Adding a drop of water (small drop!) should cause it to crackle. Add enough meat to evenly distribute. With this much meat, I have to usually do 3 batches of browning, adding oil in between each (thus the full 1/2 cup).

Brown the meat on one side, then turn, browning on the opposite side. If possible, brown the other 2 sides slightly, but usually, browning either side of the meat will do the trick. Remove the meat with a fork or slotted spoon and put into a LARGE stockpot or crockpot.
Wash 3 large baking potatoes and cut into 1 inch pieces (cubes). Do not bother peeling them, the peel is good stuff!
About the size the pieces should be. Add to the large pot.
Trim 1 Full bunch of celery. Wash it. Cut off the Head stock and the bottoms. Throw out the little pieces in the middle.
Chop the celery into 1/4 inch to 1/3 inch pieces.
Take 7 or 8 Large Carrots. Do NOT peel them. Wash them though. Add to the stockpot.
Cut the carrots into 1/3 to 1/2 inch rounds. Add to the stockpot.
Wash 1 to 1-1/2 pounds of fresh green beans. Trim both ends.
Cut in half and add to stock pot.
1 to 1-1/2 Yellow Onions, depending upon size. If you get a giant one, just use one. Take the peel off and cut into small chunks.
Add to stock pot.
Open 2 Large (normal size) cans of corn. Drain the water and add the corn to the stockpot.
2 Large cans of stewed tomatoes. Italian style or plain are both fine. Add the entire contents to the stock pot.
2- 8 oz cans of tomato sauce. Of course, 1 – 16 oz can would work just as well. :-).  Add to stockpot.
4 Beef Bouillon Cubes. Add to stockpot.
3 Tbsp Herbes de Provence.  This is a fantastic herb collection that my Grandmother sent to me. It is basically Basil, Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary and a dash of Lavender.  You can substitute the dried spices (Basil, Oregano, Thyme and Rosemary) as indicated in the proportions in the recipe too. The stuff in this can just smells heavenly though and makes you want to cook MORE stews. It just smells DELICIOUS!
Oh, and of course ADD TO STOCKPOT (haha!).
2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce. Add to Stockpot.
4 Dried Bay Leaves. Add to stockpot.
Lastly, add 6-7 Cups of Water, until you can just barely see the water through the ingredients.
Use a strong, scoop like spoon and toss all the ingredients so that everything is evenly mixed.
My pot is not big enough, so at this point, I divided the stuff into 2 pots of stew and cooked them both side by side at once.  If you try to do too much in one pot you will find that you end up burning the bottom ingredients. I think the weight of the upper ingredients is too much.
Put the stovetop on LOW (like 2-3) and stir every 20 minutes or so. Once the stuff starts bubbling, turn the stovetop LOWER, like 1-1/2 or so. You do not want to cook this stuff on high. Low temperature and longer cooking is the key. Keep coming back every 20 minutes or so and make sure to stir the stuff so it gets evenly cooked.
Total cooking time will be about 3 hours if you want the meat to be really soft and yummy, falling apart. You can get away with less time, but the results won’t be quite as good.
This is great served with a big piece of french bread on the side to soak up the juices.

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