Beef Stew

Of all the food I cook, I would be willing to put money on this one being Rob’s favorite.  It’s the one meal he will ALWAYS eat, even leftovers, and the one meal he requests more than any other.  It can be below zero or above 100 and he still wants stew.

I tend to think of it more as a fall and winter meal.  It’s thick and hot and heavy, and seems to stick inside you, heating you from the inside out.  But at our house, it’s served any time.  With air conditioning usually turned full blast at offices, grocery stores, malls, and sometimes homes (Rob and I have air conditioning wars), stew suddenly becomes more reasonable in June.

I would guess that there’s a different stew recipe for every person who makes it.  Some people use tomatoes (my mom), some people don’t.  Some people make it creamy (me), some people don’t.  Pretty much anything that holds up during long periods of cooking can be added without thought.

I’ve added things before that were awful: broccoli, barley (this can work, but add it an hour before the stew is done… not at the beginning), zucchini, etc.  For all my failures in experimentation, I’ve come up with a recipe that never fails for us.

I happen to like mushrooms.  A lot.  I’m sure that’s come up before in this blog.  In keeping with that, this is a mushroom-heavy stew.  I usually use lean beef cubes, chopped onions, potato slices or chunks, baby or sliced carrots, sliced or whole mushrooms, cream of mushroom soup and dry onion soup mix.

Proportions are up to the cook.  Sometimes I want more carrots than potatoes.  Sometimes I want more potatoes than meat.  The recipe is really mistake-proof so long as you don’t add something too delicate for 9-10 hours of heat.

So here’s how -I- do it:

Beef Stew
1 to 2 lbs lean stewing beef (cubes or roast)
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
potatoes, I’ve used baking, red, and fingerling
mushrooms, sliced or whole
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 packet onion soup mix

1.  Add meat, onions, potatoes, carrots and mushrooms to a crock pot.  Set on low and set timer for 9 hours (extra time won’t hurt).

2.  Add cream of mushroom soup and onion soup mix on top of all the rest and cover.

3.  Give the stew a stir sometime after the half way point if possible.  It’s not necessary if you’ve gone out for the day, but I think it helps promote even cooking.

4.  Serve and enjoy.

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5 Responses to Beef Stew

  1. Cheryl Waters says:

    Hooray for crock pots!

  2. Kali says:

    Yep! I have to admit, I sort of want Beef Stew now…

  3. AlohaBlu says:

    this sounds amazing! i was thinking of you this week actually. i had some crimini mushrooms that I sauteed in butter with a bit of crushed garlic, then added white wine toward the end. oh! added salt and pepper somewhere in there too. i was thinking, “I wonder if Kali has a better sauteed mushroom recipe?”. they turned out great, but if you have a good recipe, i’ll take it!

    • Kali says:

      I just do mine in olive oil with garlic and salt, so it sounds like we make them pretty similarly. I’ll look into finding more, though. I love mushrooms!!

  4. cjon says:

    Late to the party as usual.
    I once had a little book called “The Starving Students Handbook of Cookery, Drinkery and Housekeepery” It was a wonderful book that taught students how to make a brick and board bookcase, make a decent punch that could be alcoholic or not, and especially, how to fix cheap eats.
    Bear in mind this was B.C. (Before Crockpots), so everything was cooked on the stove.

    The recipe went something like this:
    Take a cheap cut of meat – 7 bone roast, chuck roast, flank steak, or whatever is on sale. (I also like pork butts.)
    Cut it into thumb-sized pieces.
    Throw it in a deep pot with a little oil and brown it. Sprinkle some garlic, salt and pepper on it. Use more garlic, salt and pepper than you think you’ll need.
    Cut up some vegetables, whatever you have. Potatoes, carrots and celery stand up to long-term cooking better than leafier vegetables.
    Throw them in the pot and add a cup of vin exceedingly ordinaire and add enough water to cover everything about an inch deep.

    Here the author notes that vin exceedingly ordinaire is whatever red wine is on sale that week, but warns to stay away from sweet or fruit flavored wines.
    Add whatever spices you think would be good. (Think Simon and Garfunkel, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme). Bring the entire pot to a boil and then reduce the heat to as low as it will go , cover and simmer for several hours.
    There was extended discussion about using up whatever was left in the fridge and adding whatever spices you had and whether or not to add flour to make gravy . (I don’t)
    All in all, it is hard to go wrong with meat, garlic, salt, pepper, veggies and cheap red wine, simmered for a long time.

    I have eaten a fair amount of this in my time. It was never the same twice, and usually pretty tasty.

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