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:
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.