Thursday, March 8, 2012

Old Fashioned Beef Stew


My father cooked a meal!  This maybe doesn't sound like much but he makes dinner about once a year if that, since he's never been as comfortable in this department as let's say... the yard.  So, when my dad gets in the kitchen, it's a big deal.  Living in a small town of Pennsylvania, life moved a bit slower and old fashioned traditions of one-pot-wonders were easy and helpful in a house full of rambunctious boys.  My father saw a lot of meatloaf, beef stroganoff, and stew in his day, so when it's time for him to cook, these are the dishes he gravitates to and I am more than happy to enjoy a tasty rustic slow cooker meal.  This time around he made Beef Stew which is packed with veggies, beef and spices (and no flour!) and it tenderized in the crock-pot for 8 whole hours.. just enough time for all the flavors to meld together for a delicious old fashioned pot of goodness.

What you'll need:  Serves about 4-6

2 lbs beef stew meat, cut into 1 1/2 in. cubes
2 tbsp canola oil
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 cup beef stock
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tsp salt
pinch of red pepper flakes (or to taste)
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 cup celery, sliced
4 potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes (same size as beef)
1 small pkg fresh green beans, halved
3 cups water
1 cup red wine
2 tbsp cornstarch

Over a medium flame, heat the oil and brown the meat in a skillet.  Once the meat is brown, remove it and put in the crock-pot (set on low heat) leaving the beef juices in the skillet.  Add the onions and wine to the beef juices and let cook for a few mins.  Pour all of this into the crock-pot.  Then add to the crock-pot the bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, salt, red pepper, raw veggies (no green beans yet), beef stock and water.  Stir and cover.  Let cook on high for about 8 hours.  Add the green beans during the last half hour.  Because this recipe calls for no flour, it's thickened by cornstarch instead, which works best over high heat on the stove.  So before serving, ladle most of the juices from the crock-pot and put into a smaller sauce pan on the stove.  Dilute the cornstarch with a little bit of water so when you put it into the juices, it doesn't clump up.  With a whisk, stir the juices and cornstarch until completely incorporated and thick.  Pour the juices back into the crock-pot, stir and serve!


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