Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Stew On It

Hey, it's December in Oregon so I guess it should come as no surprise that it's cold and wet outside. The perfect weather for some good ole' rib sticking beef stew. For you vegetarians out there, just think of it as tofu with actual flavor.

A few weeks ago we bought a package of chuck roast from Costco. Now if any of you shop at this mecca of excess, you'll know there's no such thing as a small anything there. As a result of this, we had pot roast with half of what we originally bought and froze the rest. Not wanting to have post roast back to back, we decided to thaw out the remaining side of beef and make stew out of it. Thought I'd share a few photos of the cooking process and a loose adaptation of the recipe.

If you decide to make this and are looking at the quantities of ingredients, just remember it can all be altered. Add or subtract to your hearts content.

1/4 cup +/- Oil
3# Beef Chuck Roast (or other stew meat)
1 cup Flour
1/2 cup Red Wine
2 cups ea. Yellow Onion, Celery and Carrots
8 cloves Garlic
2 14.5 ounce cans Italian Stewed Tomatoes
3-4 cups Mushrooms
4 cups Potatoes
2-3 Bay Leaves

In a heavy skillet, heat the oil. Cut the chuck roast into large cubes and dredge in the flour. Brown meat in oil over high heat. Cook in small batches leaving plenty of room in the pan so the meat can be browned on all sides without it sticking together. Put all the cooked meat into a large soup pan.

When the last of the meat has been browned, drain any remaining oil and add the red wine. Deglaze the pan with the wine and pour the liquid into the soup pan. (basically this means to bring the wine to a boil in the pan and scrape/loosen any of the browned bits with a wooden spoon.)

This is a important part of the cooking process. Don't simply discarding them, those little browned bits in the bottom of the skillet have a tremendous amount of flavor. If you don't have any wine on hand to deglaze with, you can use water instead.

Cut the Onions, Celery and Carrots into large pieces. (about one inch cubes) Dice the garlic. In the skillet with about a tablespoon of oil, lightly saute the vegetables then put into the soup pot.

Cover the meat and veges with water and bring to a simmer. If you have any homemade beef stock on hand this is a perfect opportunity to use it here.

Quarter the mushrooms. Peel and cut the potatoes into large cubes. Place into soup pot.

If you have a nine year old in the house, ask him (or her) to open the cans of tomatoes. This will vastly improve the chances that they will want to eat dinner later. Trust me, it always tastes better if you let them help you! Put the tomatoes and bay leaves into the soup pot.

Simmer for about 2 - 2 1/2 hours.

Season with a little salt and black pepper.

About a half an hour into the simmering I like to skim the top of the stew to remove any oil or fat from the meat that has accumulated at the top of the pan.

I also think cornbread is the perfect accompaniment to beef stew. (cause that's the way mom always did it.) Homemade is always a nice touch, but mixes are soooo much easier. This night we used a mix from Bob's Red Mill (a local company) It was mighty tasty.



Sandee said...

Comfort food for sure. What a great meal. Yum-O is right.

Have a terrific day. :)

buffalodick said...

I miss making big batches of it, and a small batch isn't the same..

Jeff B said...

Sandee- It was good last night and will be even better tonight as left-overs.

Buffalo- Stew is like potato's nearly impossible to make a small batch of it.

Thom said...

MMMMMMMMM sounds just wonderful. Now if I could figure out how to work a stove I might give this a try :) LOL And ya know, it's always better as left-overs :)

Mama Zen said...

That sounds SO good!

quilly said...

Beef stew is one of my winter time favorites. I always cook mine in the dutch oven because I can cook the stew in the same pot I brown the mean in, so not one bit of flavor is lost.

Jeff B said...

Thom- Kind of like spaghetti sauce. It gets better as it sits.

Mama Zen- At the risk of breaking arm patting myself on the back, it was pretty darned tasty. Thanks for dropping in and leaving a comment.

Quilly- Believe it or not, with as much cooking that Lisa and I do, A dutch oven is one kitchen goody we don't own.

Mel said...


<-- will not steal the recipe for future use!

Thanks, sir. :-)

Ron said...

I LOVE when you post these winter recipes!!!

I can just smell and taste this delicious looking stew over the Internet.

*of course, I did a little scratching and sniffing on my computer monitor.


I want to take a piece of the cornbread a dip it into that pot of stew....


Thanks for sharing, buddy!

Jeff B said...

Ron- That's exactly how I have it. I like to crumble it up and have it right in the bowl with the stew. Growing up we used to have the cornbread right out of the oven with some butter and honey on it. When I showed Lisa that, she thought I'd lost my marbles!

And guess what? It was a whopping 50 degrees here today. Damn near broke out my Speedo for the occasion. Fortunately for everyone else, I changed my mind.

Picture Imperfect said...

Hi Jeff B! Thanks for visiting and commenting at my site. Nice to meet you! :o)

Stew is one of my favorite winter meals. It's fun to make, too - even though my cooking skills usually leave lots to be desired. haha!

Hope you have a wonderful day!

Jeff B said...

Mel- Oops. I skipped over you yesterday, sorry. Feel free to steal away.

Picture Imperfect- You're welcome. Glad you came by here too.

Susan at Stony River said...

What a great winter meal; we love beef or lamb stew. Ours has Guinness in it of course LOL.

Christmas used to be so stressful between the morning chaos and the dinner, that now I have the turkey dinner on Christmas eve and a crockpot meal like stew for the day: that way the kids can just play their toys and watch their DVDs all day and everyone can just eat when they want.

Uh oh, now I'm hungry!

Jeff B said...

Susan- Guinness in it eh? Sounds like true Irish fashion. Good idea about making Christmas day more casual too.

Bond said...

Nice - I am getting Mangia Y'all cranked up again with all sorts of recipes

Akelamalu said...

You can't beat a hearty stew!

Dianne said...

"mecca of excess" !!
love that

food looks amazing
I love corn bread, usually make it with fried chicken

or for breakfast

my ex was Southern and I took his aunt's recipes

stay warm and full :)

Jeff B said...

Bond- I've got to remember to get back over to your other site dang-it. Just got your Christmas card today too. Very cool.

Akelamalu- This time of year just screams for them.

Dianne- Authentic Southern recipes...I'm jealous!

Frank Baron said...

I'm pretty sure I've never followed a recipe in my life but yours is darn tempting. I've never made stew either.

You just might be responsible for a couple of firsts in my life. ;)

Jeff B said...

Frank- Hope you give it a go and all turns out well. Thanks for dropping by for a visit.

Starrlight said...