Saturday, April 30, 2016

Beef Stew and Grandma's Cooking

So in my last post I made mention of my Grandma Martin and her cooking skills.
She had quite a repertoire- none of it fancy, all of it freaking delicious.

One thing that really sticks out in my memory- in addition to her pizza, goulash, butter noodles, and can of McCormick MSG hanging out on the windowsill in the kitchen- is her beef stew.

I LOVE beef stew.
So much so that when I was a vegetarian for 5 or 6 years there in high school and slightly afterward I asked my mom to make me a separate batch of beefless stew when she would make it.  FYI that's called potatoes and carrots.
But whatever.

Anyway, beef stew is one of those things that I almost never make and then when I do make it I can't figure out why I've gone like years since making it last.  It's so simple and so very good.

Big, oversize chunks of potatoes and carrots.  Celery if you're any family other than my cooked-celery-hating husband and daughter.  Hunks of beef cooked till it's tender and falling apart, little flakes of which have broken off as they've cooked down and mixed in with the thick and tasty broth.

This is good stuff.

A week or so ago we had a few days of gray, rainy weather.  The kind of weather where when you're planning your options are few- chili?  Soup?  Stew?
Thick, stick to your ribs, delicious feel-good food.  Maybe with a side bread.
I obviously went with stew.
So I took this basic recipe and threw it in the crockpot, mainly because I'm lazy and secondarily because I own three crockpots that get severely underused this time of year.  :-)

Once you've prepped the veggies and browned the beef this is an extremely hands-off recipe.  Set it and forget it, as Ron Popeil would say.  :-)  Throw some cornbread in the oven just before you're ready to serve it and you have a fantastic and hearty meal with very little work!


3 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 lbs cubed beef stew meat
4 C water (may sub red wine for a portion of this)
4 tsp powdered beef bouillon
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp garlic power
1 tsp onion powder
3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
4 stalks celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 C flour

1. Heat oil in pan.  Add beef to pan and brown on sides over high heat.  Transfer to crockpot.

2. Add water (and wine if desired).  Stir in bouillon powder, rosemary, parsley, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and Worcestershire sauce.  Stir potatoes, carrots, celery, and onion into the crockpot.  Stir in flour until well combined.  Cover and allow to cook on low for 12 hours or high for 6 hours or until vegetables are soft and meat is tender.

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