The cold weather this week certainly inspired my blog, and I thought I would highlight a dinner that is perfect for the cold weather – beef stew. Below is my hubby’s post on beef stew and his recipe for beef stew which is out of this planet!
Beef Stew + Cold Weather = Awesome!
At some point, here in New York, the cold weather eventually sets in. There is no avoiding it. Every year when it really starts to get cold, Shannon requests that her FB Hubby make beef stew. Let’s face it, beef stew is made for cold weather. There is something so warm and comforting about beef stew.
As I was making it recently, Shannon asked me how I learned to make it. It is odd to sometimes try to think of how you first learned to do many things. I have made so many things over the years, that I had to think about this one. I believe it began as a Joy of Cooking recipe. Back when I left home for college, I was either given a Joy of Cooking cookbook or I found it gathering dust on my Mom’s shelf and took it. I do know that the way I dredge the beef chunks in flour comes from that recipe. After that, I have added and subtracted until it became what it is today.
Some mistakes are gifts
I have to tell one story about making this beef stew. We were living in Florida, so it usually did not get cold enough to feel like beef stew weather. One night it did drop down to the 40’s. When it drops below 50 in Florida people there feel the way we do when it drops below 0 here. Anyway, it was beef stew time. So I was making it, and as I got towards the end (it is a 90 minute process) I went to add some extra pepper. Well, the top came off and most of the pepper in the shaker went right into the stew. I was standing there staring at it when Shannon walked in and, being the upbeat woman that she is, she promptly laughed her butt off. I was having a little more trouble finding the humor in the situation. I tried to sift out as much pepper as I could, but what we ended up with was a very peppery beef stew. To avoid making dinner a complete disaster, we decided to have it with a nice bottle of Merlot we had been saving. Turns out, it tasted great. Peppery, but great with the wine. Sometimes you have to laugh at what looks like a disaster of a meal, then add some alcohol. (If you know your chemistry, then you will know that alcohol is in fact, a solution).
It also turns out you can easily make a pot of beef stew for under $15 with enough to feed four people. So in the never-ending quest to meet the $15 dinner challenge, here is my beef stew. Enjoy.
Beef Stew Recipe
1 lb stew meat, (I prefer chuck meat over round, it holds up better)
½ cup all purpose flour
3 Tbls olive oil or canola oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, minced
½ shallot, minced
3 cups beef broth
2 carrots, chopped
2 potatoes, cubed (don’t peel and cut until halfway through meat cooking)
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
½ cup sliced mushrooms
Place the flour in a large Ziploc bag with some salt and pepper. Put a few pieces of stew meat in the bag, close and shake. Add a few more and repeat until all the meat is in the bag and covered in flour.
In a stock pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, and shallot. Simmer for 4 minutes. Add some salt and pepper. Remove the meat from the Ziploc bag and add to the pot, reserving the remaining flour. Brown and stir the meat until brown on all sides, about 3 minutes.
Add enough beef broth to cover all the stew meat along with some salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes.
After 40 minutes, peel and cut the potatoes (this is so they don’t sit around and get brown), and then add the potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, and peas to the pot. Cook for another 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 45 minutes, if the stew looks watery, sprinkle in some of the reserved flour until it thickens and serve.