Beef Stew

It’s a chilly, snowy night here in Calgary, although in fairness, I didn’t realize it was going to snow when I decided to make the stew….but it was chilly. My son asked a while back if, the next time it got cold, we could have some stew. Today qualifies.

I bought a monster roast a while back at Costco and cut it into 2 smaller roasts and a pack of steaks – when I cooked the first roast, it was pretty ummm….chewy. All right, tough as leather. I cooked it in the slow cooker and I think it may be dying because it did its thing for hours and never got to a boil on high. I ended up putting the roast in the pressure cooker for two cycles and even that didn’t improve things appreciably. All this to say, I was not doing that again!

So today, it is brown the meat, throw the rest together, pop it into the oven and let it roast happily for a couple of hours. A darn good call on my part, if I do say so myself.

Recipe:

  • 1.5 lb roast, chopped into bite size pieces – or use stew beef
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped as you prefer (I cut into coins)
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28oz can of chopped tomatoes, with juice
  • Mushrooms – if you like. I had about a pound of them that needed to be used, but they don’t need to be added
  • 4 cups of beef broth/bouillon
  • 1/3 cup of barley (not necessary, but I love barley)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 4 bay leaves

Brown the beef in batches in olive oil in a Dutch oven. Don’t worry about cooking it, just get some colour (in my case, it was to help it thaw). Add the vegetables, spices, tomatoes, and broth, set your oven to 350 F, pop a lid on the pot and put into the oven for a couple hours.

When it’s done, take the lid off and let it continue to cook down while you get a pot of potatoes on to boil. (You could just add potatoes to the stew right from the start, but I like mine mashed and able to soak up the juices.)

After 2 hours in the oven, plus another 20 minutes uncovered, it cooked down and lost about an inch of liquid, concentrating the flavours.

When the potatoes are done and mashed, take the stew out and serve.

This picture, despite what it looks like, is not blurry – the steam is making it look so

At the start, after the beef is browned, you could add a couple of tablespoons of flour to the beef and vegetables, stir it around until the flour coats everything evenly, then add the liquids and spices and pop in the oven. If you do this, check on it every half hour to 45 minutes to make sure it doesn’t burn.

I didn’t add the flour because it was thick enough for me and I had the potatoes to soak it up.

This would also be stellar with a nice loaf of fresh baked crusty bread to soak up the juices.

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