I don’t know about you, but nothing warms me up like a bowl of beef stew. Rich gravy-like sauce, tender veggies, chunks of beef that melt in your mouth. It’s soul food if ever there was. This stew is comforting, hearty and it’ll warm you up. It’s like getting a hug from the inside out. Eating this stew even makes me happy. How’s that for emotional eating?
I think I’ve mentioned before that the past couple of weeks have been colder than a well-digger’s fanny in the North Pole up here in MN, and TSM and I have been sick. When we’re sick, I generally make a couple of one pot meals so that we have plenty to eat when we’re hungry and I don’t have to worry about cooking for at least a week and a half. It’s a win-win. What’s your favorite cold weather/under the weather meal?
I love pairing this stew with a nice slice of buttered Italian bread that has been warmed up in the oven. Divine. I swear bread and stew were meant to go together. It’s a shame that bread is getting such a bad rap these days. I don’t buy bread from the supermarket because the nutrition labels show a minimum of 30 ingredients on average. For bread!! It’s ridiculous.
Another thing that drives me nuts about grocery store bread is that they use flour that has been striped of its nutrients and then synthetic nutrients have been put back into the flour. Um, yeah- really? The final thing that bothers me the most about grocery store breads is that they use High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). C’mon people do we really need to add *that* to bread? And why is it so high up on the ingredient list? Bread shouldn’t need that much sugar OR HFCS. No wonder bread has been villainized. I went to a French culinary school. We made a lot of bread during my studies there, and I think at most we used 6 or 7 ingredients for the breads we made. Basic bread consists of flour, water, sugar, yeast and salt. That’s it! At most some add-on ingredients like raisins, cinnamon, seeds, grains, oats or butter on the top.
If you don’t feel like channeling your inner Martha Stewart, and really who can blame you, check out Great Harvest Bread Co. and see if there is one in your area. They grind their own wheat daily, and they don’t have any preservatives or fillers or chemicals in their bread. It’s just REAL bread with 5-9 ingredients per loaf, depending on which flavor and they change those up monthly. We don’t eat a lot of bread in our household simply because bread likes to invite fat to my belly and my face and I already have 2 chins. I don’t want anymore, but when we do, I either get it organic from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, or I stop by our local GHBCo and grab a loaf.
The bread we made in school, and the bread from Great Harvest tastes better than the processed, chemical-fest, sponge-like crud they pass off for bread in stores these days. They’re doing a huge disservice to our taste buds and our bodies. You know it’s a sad day when we don’t even realize that we’re eating a nutrient deficient slab of sugar with the texture of a gummy bear. I suppose since this post isn’t about bread we should move onto the stew recipe. Sorry about that. At least when I go off on these tangents you learn something from me. So it’s not all bad, right?
This is a very simple, basic stew recipe, so feel free to add other ingredients to suit your tastes. I’m certain that this dish will become part of your winter-time supper line-up not only because it’s comforting and delicious, but because you can make it in ONE pot. I love one pot meals. Don’t you?
*I was out of tomato paste (and barley) the day I made this, so yours will have a slightly deeper color to it. The stew gets most of its flavor from the browned meat, so do not use a non-stick pot for this recipe, and season and brown the meat well!*
**The ingredients used in this recipe were organic. This recipe is free of GMOs. You can make this recipe with non-organic ingredients if you desire. I simply like to show you how you can make it free of genetically modified organisms. **
One Pot Hearty Beef StewRecipe Adapted from: Katie Lee Joel Serves: 6-8 Prep: 20-30 minutes Cooking: 2 hours
- 2-3 lb. chuck roast, cut into 1” cubes (Cut meat in 1” strips against the grain, then cut each strip into 1” cubes. If you cut with the grain, you’ll end up with meat as tough as a steel-toed boot)
- Kosher salt & Freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup unbleached organic flour- divided
- 2 TB. Unsalted butter
- 4 TB+. Olive oil
- 2 tsp. cornstarch
- 3 TB. Apple cider vinegar
- 1 TB tomato paste
- 5 medium-large red potatoes cut into 2″ chunks
- 2 medium onions- diced into 1” pieces
- 4 large carrots, sliced on the bias into 1” pieces
- 2 stalks celery, sliced into 1” pieces
- ½ cup Barley (optional), not quick cooking
- 4 cups homemade beef stock, or low-sodium organic beef stock/broth
- 3 cups homemade veggie stock, or low-sodium organic vegetable stock/broth
- 3 TB. fresh flat leaf parsley chopped fine
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- In a small pan, melt the butter and 2 TB of the flour together over medium heat. Stir constantly and cook out the flour taste about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in 1 cup of the veggie broth. This will make thick slurry. Transfer slurry a bowl and set aside.
- Season the beef generously with salt and pepper. Dust the beef with the remaining 2 TB of flour and mix with your hands to coat each piece of meat.
- Using a Dutch oven or large stockpot, preheat over medium high heat. Add 1 Tablespoon olive oil and throw in veggies and season with a few pinches of salt and pepper. Stir CONSTANTLY and cook for about 4 minutes. Remove veggies from pan and set aside.
- Return pot to heat and a little more oil.
- Add the beef in a single layer (do it in 2-3 batches if necessary) and brown all sides, about minutes 2-3 minutes per batch. Add a little more olive oil as needed for each batch. Don’t move the meat if it isn’t lifting from the pan. When it’s done searing it will release from the pant without effort.
- Remove the beef from the pan, and set aside in a bowl. Drain off excess oil. Pour the cider vinegar into the pot. (This will create quite a pungent steam, so look out and breathe with caution)Using a wooden spoon, quickly scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pot.
- Return the veggies to the pot and add the tomato paste. Stir and cook veggies with the paste for about 3 minutes. You’re trying to brown the tomato paste a bit to add another layer of flavor. Don’t worry if it sticks to the bottom of the pan it’s all good. You’re developing flavor.
- Add the beef stock and veggie stock. Scrap the bottom of the pan to get up all the tomato paste bits. Return all the beef and veggies to the pot. After cooking for about 45 minutes, take some of the broth (about 1/2 cup or so) from the stew and add it to the bowl with the slurry, stir until mixed and slowly add the slurry to the stew.
- Taste the stew and add some salt and pepper to taste. I say to taste (TT) because you might like more or less salt and pepper than I do. Just season it well. Stir until combined and then add the barley.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat to very low, and simmer, covered, until the beef is very tender 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
- Check on and stir the stew every 20 minutes or so.
- In a small bowl, mix 1/3 cup of the stew liquid with the cornstarch and stir until smooth. Add to the stew and stir. It should thicken slightly. You don’t want it too thick; so don’t use more than 2 teaspoons of cornstarch.
- Continue to simmer over low heat and allow the broth to thicken, about 3-5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings to your desired preferences- I normally need to add about 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Add the parsley.
Above is the collage of my prep work. I use a cut of chuck that looks like a giant rib eye. It’s well marbled so it has tons of flavor and is perfect for a dish where the meat has to braise in a liquid for a couple of hours.
The top middle picture shows a strip of fat. This is a grisly type of fat that won’t break down in the stew, so trim this from your meat before browning.
The top picture on the right shows another type of fat that a chuck roast has. It’s mushier and when you pick it up and pull on it, it separates like stringy pot roast- I actually cut a few pieces off that hunk and added it to the pot when I was browning the meat for extra flavor. That kind of fat crisps right up, and you’d be amazed at how much taste comes from a browned, crispy piece of beef fat. Just toss it out when you’re done browning the meat.
The second row of pictures shows the meat in 1″ cubes, then well seasoned meat, then meat dusted with flour.
The bottom row shoes me browning the meat (and not crowding the pan), the meat nice and brown, and then the finished product- STEW!
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