Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Confessions of a Mediocre Cook: Winter Beef Stew

We've had some chilly, windy weather for the last several days. Last night, the temperatures fell to freezing, which is a bit unusual for our region this early in the colder-weather season. Tiny Girl and I were going to spend a few hours outside at the barn, so I thought a warming beef stew would be wonderful for supper.

And it was!

To help me prepare, Himself cut the stew beef into much smaller chunks, and I did the rest when I got home. Upon reflection, we both thought he should have also cut the veggies, just to speed things along. When you make this for your family, consider doing the chopping earlier in the day. That will cut your prep time considerably, and you'll be eating sooner!

Winter Beef Stew
Canola oil (you can also use olive oil)
1 pound stew beef, cut into small chunks
All-purpose flour, seasoned salt, and garlic powder
1/2 onion, chopped
1 cup red wine (I used merlot)*
2 cups water*
2 T beef Better than Bouillon paste*
4 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 medium zucchini, cut into chunks OR 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 bay leaf
1/4 t dried thyme

Measure about 4 tablespoons of flour into a plate or pie tin and add some seasoned salt and garlic powder. Mix together. Coat the beef chunks with the mixture. Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a dutch oven over medium high heat. Add beef in batches and brown, removing with a slotted spoon or spatula as they brown. Add onions to pan, adding more oil if necessary, and fry til softened. Dump in the dredging flour and stir til mixed in. Add liquids, meat, thyme, and bay leaf, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover, cooking 20 to 30 minutes.

Check consistency. The mixture should be soupy. If it's not, add more liquid (I added water). Add the vegetables (EXCEPT peas, if you are using), bring back to a boil, then reduce heat and cover. Cook another 30 to 60 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Add garlic and peas (if using), and cook for another five minutes.


My girls are not big eaters, but we had no leftovers. Everyone had seconds. If your family is large, here's a tip: double the recipe.

Since I like to share the joy, I'm linking up with:
Katie's French Language Cafe
No Ordinary Blog Hop

Pop on over for some recipe inspiration!

* You can opt to use water, beef broth, vegetable stock, red wine, or a mixture, as long as you have 3 cups liquid. I used 1 cup red wine and 2 cups water. I also added the two teaspoons of bouillon paste for depth. You could substitute one or two beef bouillon cubes or omit this ingredient entirely, if necessary.

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