Beef Stew Comfort Food

When cool weather starts to drift in at our Alabama home, I go through my recipe books and start pulling out all my favorite soup and stew recipes. These hearty comfort foods stir up deep rooted memories from my childhood. This is a beef stew recipe from my mother's collection that I've used for many years.

A simmering stew fills our house with a warm, comforting aroma, and everyone knows that whatever is stewing in the pot is going to fill their bowl and their stomach soon with something good.

My mother had to stretch a food dollar a long way to feed seven. That was hard in the 60's when most women stayed at home and families survived on one income. This stew is economical and usually feeds my family two or three meals.

This recipe is simple, yet delicious. You can always add other things to it if you like, but I recommend trying it just once exactly the way it is. The ingredients are inexpensive, and it is delicious served up with soft white bread slices and a glass of cold iced tea.

Old Fashioned Beef Stew

  • Flour, black pepper, Lawry's seasoning salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds of beef tips (stew meat can be used, but beef tips are excellent; if you use stew meat, trim fat and gristle before cooking)
  • 2 1/2 T. vegetable oil
  • Rehydrated onion flakes (placed dried flakes in small amount of water for about 5 minutes)
  • 1 clove garlic or 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 4 1/2 c. very hot or boiling water (I microwave it)
  • 1 T. salt
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 2 bay leaves (remove before eating stew)
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • Dash of allspice (cloves will work as well; we prefer allspice)
  • 5-6 carrots
  • 1 pound small white onions (optional)
  • 4-5 medium white potatoes (peeled and diced)
  • 1/2 c. cold water
  • 1/4 c. flour
  1. Place the flour in a bowl or container. Season with Lawry's and black pepper.
  2. Place the meat chunks in the flour and roll around until dusted evenly.
  3. Place 1/2 of the oil in a non-stick kettle or stew pot.
  4. Heat on low to medium.
  5. Place the meat chunks into the pot. Do not crowd.
  6. Brown on all sides. Remove to a plate.
  7. Add the rest of the oil, brown the remaining chunks.
  8. Return all of the meat chunks to the pot.
  9. Add the rehydrated onion flakes, garlic or garlic powder, boiling water, salt, lemon juice, pepper, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, and allspice.
  10. Using a wooden spoon, stir thoroughly, using the spoon to "loosen" any browned bits from the pan bottom.
  11. Cover the pot. Do not leave the lid ajar. Simmer for two hours. Stir occasionally.
  12. After two hours, peel and dice the potatoes. Add to the stew.
  13. Peel and dice the carrots. Add to the stew.
  14. Add the small white onions, if you are using them.
  15. Cook for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  16. Discard the bay leaves and garlic clove (if you did not use garlic powder).
  17. Mix 1/2 cup cold water with 1/4 cup flour. Blend it thoroughly.
  18. Add to the stew, and boil gently for a 2-3 minutes.
  19. Remove the stew from the heat. Allow to sit covered until ready to eat.

Again, I serve this with cold sweetened ice tea and soft white loaf bread. The bread is delicious dipped in the gravy. I also like a few dollops of Louisiana Hot Sauce on my stew to add a little spice. Leftovers are delicious. If stew thickens more than you like, you can thin it with some tomato juice or a little bit of water.

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