Tuesday, January 3, 2012

How I make beef stew

How I make my beef stew --

- the meat - What cut of meat I buy varies.  Sometimes I buy beef stew meat.  Sometimes I will buy a roast and cut it up.  Or maybe a nice tenderized steak.  The last time I made beef stew, I bought tenderized beef stew meat from my local IGA.

- the veggies - I use potatoes and carrots.  No onions or garlic, as we just don't like those.

And now for the recipe, which has a tendency to change every time I make beef stew.

-- JD's beef stew --

1-1/2 to 2 pounds of beef, cut into bite size cubes
potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 lb. bag of baby carrots (the already peeled and ready to eat kind)
1 can of diced tomatoes
canola oil
2 packets of Swanson Flavor Boost chicken concentrated broth
malt vinegar
curry powder
salt and pepper
bottled spring water

Take a large stock pot and put it on the stove.  Put some canola oil in the bottom, but not too much; and turn it on low heat.  Add the beef, and cook till beef has changed color from pink.  Then add about 2-3 heaping tablespoons of flour, and stir until flour has mixed in with beef and juices to make a thick gravy like sauce with the beef.

Then add the can of diced tomatoes, juice and all.  Then add the carrots and potatoes.  Add as many in whatever proportions that you like.  We like the potatoes more than the carrots, so I add more potatoes.  I like using the bags of baby carrots because they are already peeled and ready to dump in the pot.  They also seem to cook up with a very good flavor.

Next add your 2 packets of the concentrated broth.  If you can't find this, just use a can of your favorite chicken broth, and just add less extra water later.  Next come the seasonings.  I use whatever strikes me to use.  I most always use curry powder, and turmeric, and salt and pepper.  You can use liquid seasonings like:  different kinds of vinegars (just don't add too much), mustard, ketchup, steak sauce, barbecue sauce, etc.  Sometimes I have added a bit of ground sage.  It varies from time to time.  Think about what seasonings that you like best and use those.  But season in moderation!  It is very easy to add a bit more.  But when you have added too much, there is no way to take it out.  With my dry seasonings, I only use 1/8 to1/4 a teaspoon at a time; just a dash, but I hardly ever measure.  With my liquid seasonings, I hardly ever measure those either; but I will usually use between 1 teaspoon to 2-3 tablespoons, depending on what it is.

Now comes the water.  When I cook, I use the same bottled spring water that I buy to drink.  I have discovered that the bottled spring water gives my food a much fresher, better flavor than tap water does.  Never cook with tap water!  Sometimes my tap water smells like it was dipped out of a swimming pool.  And who wants their food to taste like a swimming pool?  Both purified water and spring water can be easily found, and is relatively inexpensive; and using it will make your food taste so much better.  You see, I grew up using well water, rather than city water as we call it.  I have recently learned what a difference the water you use makes in the food that you cook.

Add only as much water as you need to cover the potatoes.  You don't want to thin down the broth too much.  Now simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until potatoes and carrots are done.

Serve it up with some nice baked biscuits or hot, toasted bread or rolls.   I made this stew for Christmas for us, and I got some store brand brown and serve rolls.  I spread a little margarine on top of them before I baked them, and they were great with the stew.  So your hot bread doesn't have to be fancy.

Hope you enjoy the recipe.

Happy cooking and delightful eating!

-- jd --

1 comment:

  1. I'm planning on making beef stew in the next couple of days and am going to incorporate some of your tricks. Thanks!