My Mother's Cooking - Hearty Beef Stew
Hearty Beef Stew
My Mother's Cooking
My Mother's Cooking
Hearty Beef Stew
Whenever possible, my mother liked to prepare one-dish meals which could be cooked in a single pot and which served as a complete meal. One of my favorites was her hearty beef stew which included carrots, potatoes and onions, all in a rich, tasty sauce.
While it was cooking in the oven, I could smell it all over the house and by the time supper was ready I could hardly wait to sit down at the table. Over the years I have made this dish hundreds of times and it never disappoints me.
Since my mother never wrote down her recipes and since she generally didn’t even bother to measure things when she cooked, I have had to recreate it from memory. Once you have followed this recipe, feel free to adjust it for your own taste. I know that over the years I have done just that. For instance, I generally use a lot more garlic than my mother did.
You can also substitute or add other root vegetables such as turnips or rutabegas or even Daikon raddish to vary the results
Hearty Beef Stew Recipe
3 Lbs. Boneless Beef Stew Meat cut into one inch cubes
2 Medium Onions peeled and left whole
6 Medium Onions peeled and quartered
1 Lb. of Carrots scrapped and cut into one inch rounds
1 Lb. of Potatoes, peeled and cut into one inch cubes
6-8 Garlic Cloves coarsely chopped
½ Cup of Cooking Oil
¾ Cup of Flour
1 ½ Cups of Tomato Ketchup
4 Whole Cloves
2 Small Bay Leaves
1 Tablespoon Basil
1 Tablespoon Thyme
1 Tablespoon Salt
½ Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1. Trim any excess fat from the stew meat and cut any larger pieces to match the smaller ones. Instead of stew meat, you could start with a boneless roast and cut it up yourself.
2. Place the flour, salt and pepper in a gallon plastic bag, seal the bag trapping some air inside and then shake the bag to thoroughly mix every thing.
3. Using one third of the meat at a time, place it in the bag and shake the bag until all of the meat is coated with the flour mixture. Remove the meat to a bowl shaking off the excess flour for the next two batches. I like to place a strainer over a large bowl and lightly toss the meat in it. That way I can catch any excess flour and return it to the plastic bag for the next batch.
- Heat half of the oil in a large frying pan and brown each batch of beef cubes on all sides turning them with a spatula. Remove each batch with a slotted spoon and place it in a large roasting pan or Dutch oven. Scrape any browned flour from the pan, holding the spatula upside down, and add it to the roaster. Add half of the remaining oil to the pan and repeat with the next two batches of meat.
- Drain off any remaining oil and add the ketchup and four cups of water to the pan. Bring the contents to a boil while scraping the pan with the spatula. Then add the garlic, bay leaves, thyme and basil and simmer for five minutes,
- Next press the 4 cloves into both ends of the 2 whole onions and place them into the roaster with the meat.
- Pour the seasoned ketchup mixture over the meat. Then scrape and rinse the pan with 2 additional cups of water and add this to the roaster.
- Stir the contents of the roaster, cover it and place it in a preheated 300 F oven.
- Every half-hour you should uncover the roaster and stir the contents. You can add water if the sauce gets too thick.
- The meat should be fork tender in 1-½ hours. Taste the sauce and add salt, if necessary. At this point it should taste slightly over seasoned since you will be adding the raw vegetables next.
- Remove the bay leaves and the cloves, add the drained vegetables, and thoroughly mix the contents until all components are coated with the sauce
- Return the covered roaster to the oven and continue cooking until the carrots and potatoes are fork tender (about 75 minutes). Remove the pan from the oven, stir once more and let the contents rest for about 15 minutes before serving.
Serve with some good rye bread and a few pickles. If you like wine, I would suggest an inexpensive California or Italian pinot noir. Another good choice would be a French Cote du Rhone. Since the stew is slightly sweet and highly seasoned, you don’t want to serve a very dry wine like a French Bordeaux or a fine California cabernet sauvignon.
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North Central Wisconsin where my mother taught me how to cook.
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