Easy Beef Stew
This is my method for beef stew. It's not fancy and doesn't require special ingredients, and it's definitely easy. Feel free to add green beans, peas, corn, or your family's favourite veggies to this very basic recipe.
- 2.5 lbs (1 kg) stewing beef - or a similarly sized inexpensive roast, cut up
- 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
- salt, pepper
- ketchup - HUH?!?!?!?!
- 5 lbs potatoes (old are better than new)
- 2 lbs carrots
- Time: 4 to 5 hours from start to finish
- Servings: 4 or more
- Fill a large dutch oven or other very large pot about three quarters of the way with cold water.
- Add the chopped onion, meat, salt and pepper.
- Bring to a boil, stirring occassionally. Add a few squirts of ketchup (yes, you read that right), and stir in it. Reduce heat to medium low so mixture is simmering.
- Cover pot, leaving the lid slightly tilted so it doesn't boil over, and simmer for at least 2 to 3 hours, stirring every 30 to 60 minutes (if you think of it).
- During that time, peel all those potatoes and carrots! Extra amounts can be added to make the stew feed more people.
- At the end of the simmering period, you should find that the amount of liquid has been reduced. At this point, add the veggies and bring back to a boil.
- Again, reduce to a simmer, cover the pot and cook for about an hour.
- Near the end of the cooking time, make dumplings if you like. I don't care for them myself.
- Thickening is optional. Near the end of the cooking time, reduce heat to low and slowly stir in some flour mixed with cold water (or some cornstarch mixed with cold water). Continue stirring and increase heat again til stew is boiling. Continue to cook and stir for a few minutes til liquid thickens.
- Serve with your favourite bread or buns.
- It's important to use a large heavy pot so the liquid doesn't evaopate too quickly.
- When adding other vegetables, put them in with the potatoes and carrots if raw, or about 20 to 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time if already cooked.
- The recipe can be doubled, just make sure you have enough pots.
- A large blade or other inexpensive roast can be cut up completely and the unused half put into the freezer to be made into stew at a later date.
- To reheat leftovers, use a heavy bottomed pot, bring to a quick boil, then reduce and simmer for at least 30 to 45 minutes to ensure everything is warmed all the way through.
- Some folks like to brown their meat in a bit of fat first, with or without dredging the meat in flour. Do so if you like, then add the water, salt and pepper, and onions afterwards.
- Change the proportions of meat and veggies to suit your taste or your budget.
- The best stews are cooked more slowly and at a lower temperatures. It always tastes better the next day, too.
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