The first time I ever thought about making, or learning to make, beef stew, was about 7 years ago! Chris and I were living in an apartment, and we had just had our first baby. We were invited to dinner at an older couples house [they were probably older than our parents, at the time]. They were teachers of one of our classes in church, and just all around amazing people.
They invited us to a "home cooked" dinner. She served beef stew, and probably rolls and maybe a salad. I just remember that Chris kept commenting on how good beef stew was, and that he really liked it.
Thus, it became my task to learn how to make it. By this point in time, I was no longer working, and was trying to sharpen my cooking skillz.
I looked up about 1.2 million beef stew recipes. I combined some, tweaked some, and eventually perfected [in our opinion], the recipe.
We are a soup loving family. [Okay, Chris and I are...the littles will get there eventually!] Now that it is October, soup is on!
I served this stew with butter dip breadsticks. Admittedly not the most healthy side in the world, but they remind me of growing up. We had these all the time with soups and stews when I was a kid. They are very quick to make, and seem to go great with a warm fall/wintery dish.
- 2 T. oil [veg oil]
- 1/4 c. flour
- 1/2 T. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper [more or less depending on the kick you want your stew to have]
- 1 lb. stew meat [Honestly, I usually buy about .80 of a pound! I go for cheap, and stretch the meal. ]
- 1 onion, chopped
- bay leaf [optional]
- 3 large potatoes, peeled and diced
- 3 carrots, sliced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 3 (10.5 oz) cans of beef stock [you can easily sub Shirley J beef bouillon here]
- 3 T. reserved flour
- 3 T. [+/-] cold water
- In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. In a Ziploc bag, mix together the flour, garlic powder, salt, pepper and red pepper. Add a small handful of meat at a time, and shake until well coated. Continue until all meat is coated. In batches, brown in hot oil, about one minute per side. Remove the browned meat, and continue until all of the meat is browned.
- Lower the heat to medium, and add the chopped onions to the pan. [With meat removed!] You should have enough fat left in the pan, but if you don't, add a tiny bit more oil, so the onions don't burn. Brown onions about 4-6 minutes, or until they are tender and brown. If there is any fat in the pot, remove onions and drain fat. [I never have any left in the pot!]
- Add browned beef into the pot with the onions; pour in beef broth. Stir all together and bring to a boil. You can add a bay leaf [or 2] here if you'd like. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't! Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
- Bring stew back to a boil and add vegetables. [potatoes, carrots, celery] Use 3 T. of the reserved seasonsed flour mixture [the flour you coated the beef with ] and combine it with 3 T. [more or less] of cold water. Whisk it together really well, so no lumps remain. Slowly drizzle into the stew [as it is boiling], and stir. This will thicken your stew a bit, but also give it great flavor.
- Reduce heat to love, cover and cook for 40 additional minutes, or until the veggies are done.
- Season with salt & pepper to taste.
Butter Dip Breadsticks
- 1/3 c. [+/-] melted butter
- 2 1/4 c. flour
- 3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 3 tsp. sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 c. milk
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt; mix well. Stir in the milk, just until moistened. Turn onto a floured surface; knead 10-15 times until well combined.
- Roll into a 12x9" rectangle, and cut into small strips. [I use a pizza cutter, and cut the rectangle in 1/2 or 1/3 depending on how big it is, and the cut it across to make strips.]
- Dip each side of the strip in melted butter and then place on a cookie sheet.
- Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.