Growing up, I thought I hated beef stew. I avoided it at all costs. Then came the day I was on complete bedrest during my first pregnancy. I had just gotten out of the hospital and my husband’s grandparents were kind enough to bring over dinner. Not knowing the depths of my loathing for stew, they brought over a large pot, enough for several meals. I certainly was not going to be rude, so I took a small serving. Wonder of wonders, I learned it was not beef stew I hated, but Dinty Moore. (Sorry mom and thank you Nana!)
Basics of Beef Stew
- 1 lb stew beef cut into 1″ or smaller chunks
- 2 TBSP vegetable or olive oil
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 cups beef broth or stock (you may substitute wine or dark beer for one cup of broth)
- 2 cloves garlic – minced
- 1 medium onion – diced
- 8 0z mushrooms – button, portabello, baby portabello etc. (OPTIONAL)
- a pinch of herbs such as rosemary or thyme (season according to your taste)
- vegetables cut into chunks (OPTIONAL)
Directions after the jump.
Remove as much fat as possible from the beef.
Heat the oil over medium heat in a dutch oven or heavy skillet, if you intend on transferring to a slow cooker.
Toss the beef with the seasoned flour until well coated. Add the beef to the oil and cook until brown, use a spatula to stir and scrape the browning bits of flour from the bottom of the pan.
Add the diced onion and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Add one cup of broth (or beer or wine) to the pan and be sure to get all the browned bits from the bottom, these add a lot of flavor and would burn if left in place.
Add your vegetables. I typically add 2 – 3 ribs of celery, 3 largish carrots, and 2 potatoes. These are all cut into fairly similar chunks. Add the garlic and remaining broth. Turn the heat down to low, add any herbs such as rosemary, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- If you would like to add tomatoes, add them at the very end.
- If you are looking for a gluten free version, simply omit the flour and thicken the broth with instant potato flakes or corn starch.
- A handful or two of frozen vegetables are always a nice addition and add variety.
- Russet potatoes maintain a better texture than Idaho.