Posted by Ethne~
I made beef stew Sunday for dinner after football-watching. Let me tell you, I’ve just been in a crazy mood for soups these past couple of weekends.
2 cups carrots (I used the pre-sliced for ease)
2 cups celery (I didn’t have, so I used zucchini cubes instead), sliced
3-4 large potatoes, cubed
2 cups frozen peas
2 med-large onions, chopped
1-2 cups button mushrooms, sliced
1 can tomato paste (I used a few scoops of my homemade tomato sauce instead)
1 large flank steak cubed into bite-size pieces
4-8 beef bouillon cubes
Flour (a few tablespoons)
Salt and pepper
1-2 cups dry red wine
First, I drizzled my pan with olive oil and set it to medium heat. I put in my meat cubes, salted and peppered them, then shook on the couple of tablespoons of flour. I sautéed them until they were browned, but being cooked through wasn’t essential. Toss ‘em into the crock pot.
|Browned steak chunks and raw carrot slices|
(that red sauce is the little bit of tomato soup leftover from lunch)
I next put a little more olive oil in the same pan (don’t rinse it out) and put in my onion and mushrooms. You could sauté your carrots in here too, but I didn’t. Saute until the mushrooms and onions start to wilt a little (release some of their juices) and pour in the red wine. This should cause some sizzle and loosen up the flour and beef bits. Bubble this around for a few minutes until all the bits are scraped off the bottom of the pan. Pour this all into the crock pot.
|Lightly sauteed onion and mushroom - I added a little sprinkle|
of flour for thickening (do this for the meat for sure); see the beef
bits on the sides of the pan? That's the GOOD stuff.
|Eyeballing the red wine pourage|
|The insta-sizzle of the wine (called deglazing) loosens|
up those tasty bits of beef on the bottom and sides of the pan
Throw in the zucchini and carrot and potato cubes. Dump in the broth and tomato paste/sauce.
|Got a bit of a glare off the zucchini!|
Liberally salt and pepper, stir around a couple of times and set your crock pot on high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8 hours (depending on when you are doing this and when you plan on eating).
|Adding some mega flavor|
I tasted every hour or so to check the salt factor. I ended up adding in more salt, then the beef bouillon cubes until I liked the flavor.
When your veggies are cooked, add the peas.
When the peas are cooked through (they don’t need to be mush), determine if you like the consistency. I consider stew to be thick and I determined at this point that it wasn’t stew-y enough. The flour you put on the beef at the beginning should help thicken, but if you still want your stew thicker, stir a couple tablespoons of flour or corn starch in a cup of water till it’s all dissolved, then stir it around in the stew. Keep stirring for a minute or two and you’ll see the consistency thicken. Do this till it’s the consistency you want.
Serve with bread or on its own.
|Happy stew faces...|
|...all the way around the table.|
NOTE: While Shaun and the girls ate this stew quite well, Shaun figures I didn’t do it justice by adding zucchini. He just said it made it all wrong. He said “any red-blooded American wouldn’t add zucchini to beef stew.” I figure he’s wrong because I’m a red-blooded American and I did it. Friends, add it if you want, I’ll say it’s good either way (and excellent my way).