In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s been pretty cold lately, and I think we all need something to warm us up a bit. So, I decided to share my quick recipe for beef stew. It’s something I’ve refined over the years, (If you believe that, you shouldn’t.) and it’s super easy to make. My family and neighbors love it, and I hope you will too. Please note: Measurements, quantities, and even ingredients can be varied. (They always are when I make it.) If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s following the rules, even in following a recipe. Anyway, here goes.
The very loosely defined and less adhered to list of ingredients:
You will need 1-2 lbs. of beef, (whatever you can afford right now, without selling your house) cut into approximately one-inch cubes. (One of the reasons I call it one inch beef stew.)
You will also need a bunch of carrots, peeled, and also cut into one-inch lengths. (Another reason it’s one inch beef stew.) I like chunky stew, so I use a lot of carrots and I try to get those big fat over-grown looking ones and cut them a bit diagonally. My five-year-old granddaughter taught me that that shape is a rhombus. She really did. You could also use a bag of those pre-peeled finger carrots, but I don’t like fingers in my soup, so I don’t.
Now you need five or six average sized potatoes, cut, you guessed it, into (approximately) one-inch cubes. You can peel the taters first, if comp’ny’s comin’.
1 small can diced tomatoes. What more can I say about that?
2 32 oz. cartons of beef broth. Ditto.
1-2 largish onions peeled, chopped. (You can’t ‘cube’ onions, but don’t worry about that.)
A 1-inch length of a quarter-pound butter stick. (Here we go again.)
A little instant potato. (Don’t panic. It’s important.)
A smidgen of Garlic salt (I got the word smidgen from my mom.)
A dite of salt. (I also got the word dite from my mom.)
A pinch or two of pepper. (I usually go for three pinches.)
A few glugs of olive oil to brown the meat.
A big ol’ pot with a cover to do it all in.
Now for the precision cooking instructions:
Glug the few glugs of olive oil into the big ol’ pot, on the stove. (Important, turn on the stove’s burner too.)
Brown the meat in the pot, stirring occasionally if you feel like it. Or, just sip on your coffee. That’s what I do. If you want to get really fancy, throw the onions in now to brown them too. Also, shake in some garlic salt. Then, and this is important. Do nothing more to the meat! DO NOT DRAIN IT! Just leave it in the pot and keep your fingers out of it. Although that beef will taste pretty yummy if you give in to temptation. (Personally, I can resist anything but temptation.)
Add both cartons of the beef broth and bring it all to a boil.
Now for the precision part: Throw everything else in, except for the instant potato. We’ll get to that in a minute.
Return the pot to a hard boil, then simmer until veggies are done. Sample a big carrot rhombus. If that’s soft, it’s all soft.
Now, about the instant potatoes. I shake a box of those flakes over the pot, (For best results, remember to open the box.) while stirring the stew. Add whatever quantity you want. I just do enough to thicken the broth up a bit.
Guess what? You’re done, and so is this column. Enjoy, and stay warm!