Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Beef Stew


Printable version
I have made beef stew several times in the past and this recipe is the first time I have used a cornstarch slurry to thicken it rather than a flour based mixture. The biggest difference is the color. Same great flavor, but the cornstarch turns the liquid a nice rich brown color rather than the blondish brown achieved with flour. I discovered the magic of cornstarch with a turkey stew that I made over Thanksgiving weekend and couldn't wait to put the technique to use with a stew like this.

Making the liquid a beautiful color is important to me because it should look as good as it tastes. The key to any great stew is the gravy that binds it all together. The beefy flavor enhanced by vegetables and a long simmer is downright drinkable when made right. It’s so exciting to have this new trick up my sleeve for thickening soups – after 20 years of cooking, I’m still a student and will be forever.

BEHIND THIS BITE
Beef Stew

Whenever I make stew I think about my Dad. When I was 11 or 12 he made breakfast for us one Saturday that consisted of a huge plate of fried potatoes smothered in a giant scoop of beef stew. It was a stick-to-your-ribs breakfast that I will never forget. I felt like a lumberjack as I gobbled it down, and thought it might be time for my first shave once I was finished. It was a man meal, fit to be served in a man cave before walking out the door to kill something.

I don’t know why I perceived it that way, but to this day I can’t see a couple of women getting together for breakfast and deciding to smother fried potatoes with a huge heap of beef stew. Not that it can’t or doesn’t happen, it just seems as though a breakfast of potatoes smothered in meat and gravy would have been the choice of a man going out to plow under a corn field or chop a cord of wood. I guess it’s just one of those things that struck me as a kid and I have yet to see something else that would prove the insight wrong.

Eat well, cook often ...

BEHIND THIS BITE
Beef Stew

Serves 6; 2 1/2 hours
2 lbs Stew beef
4 C Beef broth
1 C Onion, diced
1/2 C Celery, diced
1/2 C Carrot, diced
1/2 C Green pepper, diced
1 Tbs Garlic, minced
2 Russet potatoes, cubed
2 C Water
1 tsp Italian seasoning
2 Tbs Cornstarch
2 Tbs Water

Cook beef
In a soup pot over medium high heat, sear beef in batches on all sides until just cook through, salt and pepper to taste. Return beef to pan and add broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Sauté vegetables
In a fry pan over medium heat sauté onion, celery, carrot and green pepper until soft, 4 to 6 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Add garlic, cook 1 minute more or until fragrant.

Make stew, thicken

Add sautéd vegetables, water, potatoes and Italian seasonings to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through. In a separate bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water to make a slurry. Once potatoes are tender stir slurry into pot and simmer 10 minutes more or until mixture thickens. Spoon into bowls and serve.

1 comment:

Jenniffer Jarrett said...

This looks so good. But, there are at the least 10 people living in my house and at the most 13, so I am going to have to double or even triple this recipe. Everyone in my family loves beef stew.