Sometimes I just don't know what I want to make for dinner. I love to cook, but especially when my wife is out of town for extended periods of time (she has been gone since last Wednesday at this point) and I know the kids would be just as happy with Hot Pockets or McDonalds as they are with anything fancy I decide to make for dinner it is difficult to find inspiration. It is times like this that have brought me to an interesting realization. No matter what mood I am in, if I can't decide what to make for dinner beef stew or corned beef hash always work and never disappoint. Really. A big bowl of a thick beef stew made from scratch and cooked the right way for hours in the oven with a good whole wheat roll is NEVER the wrong answer.
CASH SAVER TIP: You will often see beef soup recipes call for "stew meat", and have likely found it easy to find already cut stew meat in your meat department. What the butcher isn't telling you is that stew meat is almost always just trimming scraps from either top or bottom round, and they jack up the price hoping people won't notice. When I was buying food for this recipe "Stew Meat" was selling for $4.99/lb. at my local grocer, but "Boneless Bottom Round Pot Roast" was selling for just $2.99/lb.! I don't know about you, but I can cut meat into 1 inch chunks by myself while I am cooking if it will save me $2.00 a pound.
I found this recipe on Taste of Home, but it is as basic and classic a recipe as you can find and is the way I've been making beef stew since my Pops taught me to make stew as a kid. Brown off small chunks of meat, coat in flour. Add everything but the veggies and cook, the add veggies and cook longer. Simple, basic, delicious.
Classic Beef Stew
Nothing fancy here, just basic classic slow cooked old fashioned beef stew.
2 hours 45 minutes
- 2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 to 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 to 1/2 cups chopped onions
- 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 can (10-1/2 ounces) condensed beef broth, undiluted
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 cup sliced celery (1-inch lengths)
- In an oven-proof Dutch oven, brown beef in batches in oil; drain. Return all meat to the pan. Add flour and toss meat in flour until coated. Add onions, tomatoes, broth, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper and bay leaf. Bring to a boil.
- Cover stew and bake at 350° for 1-1/2 hours. Stir in carrots, potatoes and celery. Bake, covered, 1 hour longer or until meat and vegetables are tender. Discard bay leaf. Yield: 6-8 servings