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January 1999 Issue
Soups and Stews
by Philip R. Gantt
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Beef Stew

This is an old standby in the American repertoire of cooking. This recipe lends itself well to the electric crockpot as the ingredients can be prepared ahead of time and the crockpot can be turned on early in the day. The stew can then cook all day long, like while you are at work, and be ready at dinner time.

Any cut of beef can be used in this recipe, but the cheaper cuts, like shank meat, will produce a better flavor. In general, bones in a soup or stew will produce a richer and more nutrient stock. Trim most of the fat from the meat before using. Short ribs of beef make for an excellent and rich stew.

Kitchen tip: Some people peel carrots and potatoes. I use a scouring pad to scrub the vegetables under running water before cutting. It's faster, easier and takes less time. Also less waste and no danger of getting cut.

  • 3 lbs. lean beef cut into cubes
  • Oil or bacon grease for browning
  • 2 medium size diced onions
  • 3 stalks celery sliced into chunks
  • 4 medium size carrots, cut into chunks
  • 4 medium size potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 lb. green beans sliced into 1" lengths
  • 4 T. flour (more if necessary)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp. Maggi seasoning
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp. Kitchen Bouquet
Coat the beef cubes in flour. In a skillet with just a little oil, sauté and braise the meat until brown on all sides. Transfer the meat to a pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Also put in the bay leaf. Next, sauté the onions in the skillet to absorb the flavors and juices from the browned meat. Add the onions and any juice to the pot. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for at least 3 to 4 hours or, until the meat is very tender. The longer you cook stew, the better it seems to get.

Next, add the carrots, green beans, celery and potatoes to the stew. Add salt and pepper to taste and the liquid seasonings. Cook for an additional 30 minutes. Finally, just before serving, dissolve the flour in about ½ cup of cold water and add to the pot. Make sure that there are no lumps in the flour before adding to the stew. Stir constantly for about 5 more minutes until the stew thickens.

Serve stew with warm bread and butter. Sourdough French bread is a good choice.

  • Yields: 10 servings
  • Preparation Time: 4 hours
 
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