During the colder months of October-April, we rely on 2 favorites for quick, easy, Sunday dinners. One is chili and the other is beef stew. They're not quick as in fast, but once they're in the crockpot, the only thing to worry about is what to serve with them! (Usually cornbread, biscuits or sourdough!) Today I'll share my beef stew recipe. Recently, someone asked for the recipe, and I realized that I didn't have a "recipe" to share! I'm not one to measure or weigh ingredients...again, the "wing it" mentality. So today, I did the correct thing and wrote it all down as I went. Strangely enough, I had never thought to do that before! Looks pretty good on paper, but wait until you try it! Delish!
I start this in a dutch oven on the stove, then transfer to the crockpot. If I'm going to be home all day, I will sometimes put it in the oven. It really depends on what else is going on!
Mouth-watering Beef Stew
1 1/2 lbs. stew meat
1/2 cup flour
2 T. oil (I use coconut oil)
1 cup Merlot (Remember, the alcohol cooks out...this really adds alot of flavor!)
8 cups water (can use 2 quarts of beef broth or homemade stock)
6 T. organic beef soup base, if using water only
1 quart stewed tomatoes
3 large carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3-4 potatoes, depending on size, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup uncooked barley
1 t. each: dried oregano, dried basil, dried marjoram
2 bay leaves, broke in halves to release flavor
1/2 T. salt (or to taste)
1/2 T. ground pepper (or to taste)
Cut meat into bite-sized pieces. Mix with flour. Heat oil in cast-iron pot and add meat/flour mixture. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. (The meat will still be pink.) Add Merlot and turn down to medium/low heat to simmer for 3-5 minutes. The flour and wine will make a thick roux. Add water and soup base, or beef broth. Stir well to release roux from bottom of pot. Now you can add this to your crockpot if you desire. Add remaining vegetables and spices to the pot. For the crockpot, set on low for 8 hours. For the oven, 325 F. for approximately 4 hours. Or, if you wish, leave on the stove to simmer until veggies are cooked through. Remember to remove the bay leaves BEFORE serving! (We once had to "award" the person/persons who "found" the bay leaves...Momma forgot about them!)
Next week, I'll share my chili recipe. But first, I need to make it so I can write down the correct measurements...this could get to be a chore!