Recipe: Beef Stew

by Brad Nelson   7/25/16

Tim’s Elizabeth (or is it Elizabeth’s Tim?) mentioned a stew recipe that sounded good and vaguely similar to mine. So I said I’d post my recipe and compare.

Whether this belongs in “Health and Fitness” perhaps is debatable…if you’re a Vegan. With this recipe, “PETA” means “people eating tasting animals.” But it doesn’t have all that much beef in it (you may certainly put more in). And what beef it does have is very lean. You can use ground Trump if you prefer but I’ve had very good luck with various cheap cuts of meat including beef eye of round and petite sirloin.

This recipe is based roughly upon a recipe for Quick and Easy Beef Stew that I found at Food.com. I’ve perhaps made a bit less quick and easy, but certainly a bit more nutritious.

I make this in a 6 quart crock pot set on high until it simmers, and then let it crock away on low for at least six hours. I usually prepare this in the evening and let it stew overnight and have some for lunch. There is no way to over-cook this. It’s all good.

When all the ingredients are added to the pot, you can basically barely stir it. It will be very thick, but as it cooks the juices will be released and thin it out considerably. I fill the crock pot to within about an inch of the top to allow for a little expansion and the ability to stir it without slopping all over. Many crock pots warn you about not filling to the top because it won’t be as hot at the very top. Mine gets plenty hot, but I usually cover it with a towel to help retain heat. The meat (and everything else) gets thoroughly and evenly cooked. I stir every couple of hours. At the very end, I’ll add a little water to account for evaporation.

Basic ingredients:

1 lb or more of a cheap cut of lean meat, cubed. I don’t brown it first but you certainly could.
7 medium yellow (Yukon Golds, I suppose) or red potatoes with the skins (I prefer the yellows for their more tender skins, and either type is less starchy than a Russet)
32 ounces beef broth + one beef bullion cube dissolved in some hot water (or any combination thereof that will produce that amount of beefy goodness). I try to get the low salt variety and then add salt at the very end of cooking in case it is needed.
7 large carrots, coarsely chopped
1 large onion, coarsely diced
4 stocks of celery, coarsely chopped
4 button mushrooms, coarsely diced
14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes (no salt added…fresh tomatoes from your garden, of course, would be preferred)
1/3 of a crown of cauliflower, coarsely diced/chopped (hacked?)

Spices/herbs

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 or 2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon allspice (no more or it will overpower it)
Sage, rosemary, thyme, sweet basil…mix and match. Use more if fresh from garden, a little less if using dried ingredients, but heavy on the rosemary. Maybe about 2 tablespoons in total when very finely chopped (if fresh).
Heavy sprinkle of powdered garlic (freshly chopped is fine, but I try to make this recipe quick and easy to some extent)

Other ingredients

1/2 heaping half cup of flour (3/4 of a cup for the 6 quark crock pot would be fine…I sift it into the pot)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (get the good stuff if you can)
1 tablespoon olive oil (ditto on the good stuff)
5 cups water (best to add near end to see if you have much room left)

You don’t need to add these ingredients in any particular order, but I would put the beef stock and canned tomatoes in first just so the heat can be transferred more readily via the liquids. And obviously hold off on adding the flour until you have some liquids that you can dissolve it into…better to wait until the liquids have heated up a bit as well.


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Brad Nelson

About Brad Nelson

I like books, nature, politics, old movies, Ronald Reagan (you get sort of a three-fer with that one), and the founding ideals of this country. We are the Shining City on the Hill — or ought to be. However, our land has been poisoned by Utopian aspirations and feel-good bromides. Both have replaced wisdom and facts.
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7 Responses to Recipe: Beef Stew

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I made this stew last night. It was good, good, good for lunch today…with lots of leftovers.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    I don’t have the specifics of what Elizabeth uses, but this sounds rather heavy on the vegetables compared to meat. I’m not sure if she uses something like four to thicken the gravy, though I suspect my mother did with hers. These days, she would probably use sodium-free salt (potassium chloride), which fortunately works for both of us (though she, unlike me, doesn’t have to watch her sodium).

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      The broth itself is very beefy and relatively thick. There’s no mistaking this for a vegetable soup at all. But the few extra veggies (cauliflower, tomato, and celery) add some color, interest, and flavor. I think it refines it a little. Certainly anyone who has ever tasted it has raved and usually wants more. But I wouldn’t put any other veggies in it for fear of turning into a vegetable soup. I think I’ve struck a good balance.

      I would think a salt-substitute would work just fine.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        I’m not sure about Elizabeth’s vegetable portions (and she doesn’t make as much as you do), but there definitely isn’t any cauliflower, and probably no tomatoes. (Incidentally, we also sometimes used canned diced tomatoes with no salt added.) I suspect she uses comparatively more onion than you do.

  3. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    The only thing I might add would be tabasco or cholula sauce. OK, maybe another pound of meat.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Brother Bryan has some type of hot sauce that I usually add to my vegetable-turkey-rice soups. But for some reason, the beef doesn’t need it, although I usually put a light dusting of parmesan cheese over the top.

      Yes, more meat is a good thing. I keep it rather light simply because of the cost and just to keep it a little lighter.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        Brother Bryan has some type of hot sauce that I usually add to my vegetable-turkey-rice soups. But for some reason, the beef doesn’t need it,

        That does seem to be the case.

        We just finished the end of the delicious beef stew my wife made a few weeks back. She froze several portions for later consumption, and we done consumed it. An actual case where one can be happy and sad at the same time. Happy to eat it, sad there’s no more.

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