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Topic: OT: Best darned beef stew

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Subject: OT: Best darned beef stew
Date Posted: 11/21/2009 7:57 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 808
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I just finished adding the potatoes and thought I'd share this with y'all. Make early to eat while you're prepping turkey Wednesday!

I use the recipe from the Better Homes & Gardens Cook Book (the big red/white checkered one), but make a few changes. I'll give you the recipe as published, with changes in italics or in parentheses after the ingredient. Make a big batch! It freezes well!


2 tbsp flour
1 lb beef stew meat, cut in 3/4-inch cubes (I buy a 2 lb chuck roast when they're on sale and cut my own, removing everything that's not meat)
2 tbsp cooking oil

Coat meat with flour, brown in oil in saucepan or skillet. Best done in 2 or more batches, just covering the bottom of the pan and turning to brown completely.

3 cups vegetable juice (V-8 juice) - Store brand works fine. For double batch (2 lbs meat), get a 46-oz can and save $$$
1 cup water - heat to boiling in microwave - Double for double batch
1 med onion, cut into thin wedges (increase to 2 or 3 for double batch)
1 tsp instant beef bouillon granules (1 cube) - I double for single batch, use 4 for double batch
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce - I double for single batch, use 4 tsp for double batch
1/2 tsp dried marjoram, crushed
1/2 tsp dried oregano, crushed (did you know you can crush oregano easily by rolling between your palms?)
1/4 tsp pepper - double for double batch
1 bay leaf (okay to omit if you don't have on hand)
2-1/2 cups cubed potatoes - I increase to stretch the stew, buying a 5 lb bag of red rose potatoes and use 3/4 of the bag for a double batch
1 cup frozen cut green beans - I omit
1 cup frozen whole kernal corn - I omit
1 cup sliced carrots (2 medium) - I increase to stretch the stew, using about 3/4 of a 2 lb bag, cut in 2-inch lengths instead of sliced
2 celery stalks (4 for double batch), cut in 1/4-inch slices - not in original recipe

Dissolve beef bouillon in the boiling water. Mix V-8 juice, water, bouillon, Worchester sauce, marjoram, oregano, pepper in large stock pot (a 4-qt Dutch oven is large enough for a single batch if you don't overdo the veggies). Add browned beef, onions, and carrots (these get added early because they take the longest to soften). Float bay leaf on top. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer.

After one hour, add other vegetables, including potatoes. Liquid should barely cover ingredients. Everything will cook down and you aren't making soup. If needed to make enough liquid to cover veggies, add another beef broth (1 bouillon cube dissolved in 1 cup water). Continue simmering until vegetables are tender, about 1 to 1-1/2 hours longer. Discard bay leaf.

ADJUSTMENTS FOR CROCK POT COOKING: Reduce vegetable juice to 2 cups. Mix liquid and spices together, set aside. Layer meat and vegetables in pot, pour liquid mixture over the top. Cover and cook on low heat setting for 9 hours.

Large crock pots (the big ones with the removable pot) are not quite large enough for a double batch unless you limit the veggies to the original quantities. The book says you can cook on high heat setting for 5 - 6 hours, but in my experience, stew tastes burnt. Also, in my experience, the meat is not as tender cooked in the crock pot as on the stovetop. Crock pot works well if you have to mix it all together and let it cook while you're at work, but if you're home and can do it, do the stovetop thing.

Single batch, made as originally published, makes about 6 main-dish servings. Made my way (with more potatoes and carrots), it will do hearty servings for 8.

I always do a double batch because it is a lot of work cutting up roast, browning meat, and chopping veggies. With a family of 3 (2 adults, 1 12-yr-old), I freeze in dinner-sized batches. Add some fresh french bread from the supermarket and voila! I have more time for reading...


Date Posted: 11/21/2009 9:39 PM ET
Member Since: 4/30/2007
Posts: 2,728
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Hey Colleen- I love beef stew, and also love the BH&G recipe!  Just wanted to mention this- hope you don't mind, but you can use a good canned beef broth instead of the water and beef boullion if you want.  I do this because I am very sensitive to MSG, which is in a lot of those bouillons (as well as canned broth, so you really have to read labels.)  I had to LOL that you also increase the carrots- I always put in twice as many carrots as any recipe says for pretty much everything- thought I was the only one!  They are so healthy though, as well as yummy.  I also always put in celery- not my favorite veggie by itself, but per Emeril, it's great for extra flavor!  I have never been a fan of including small veggies like green beans and corn in my stew, so  your version is very similar to mine.  I like big, chunky veggies in my stew- I sometimes add halved mushrooms or root veggies cut into chunks like parsnips or rutabega.  Too bad I'm the only one in my family who will eat this stew- neither of my kids will go near it, and my hubby doesn't like any kind of beef other than ground (in a hamburger or meatballs) or a grilled steak.  No problem- more for me!!

Anyway, thanks for posting- 'tis the perfect season!

Date Posted: 11/21/2009 9:55 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 808
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LOL, Lesley. Add extra taters. They're loaded with potassium and vitamin C!

As for you being the only one who eats stew, my DH won't eat anything that has a bone in it or that looks like it was once near a bone, etc. But he'll eat this stew! Another great recipe they have, New England Boiled Dinner (corned beef and cabbage, sans cabbage), is one that I get almost all to myself.

It is soup and stew weather! Now if I can just find a recipe for apple-sweet onion chowder. Tasted this at a restaurant in Seattle about 20 years ago. Have been searching for a recipe ever since. *sigh*


Date Posted: 11/22/2009 11:41 AM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 240
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FYI, A New England boiled dinner is corned beef & cabbage SANS the corned beef.  You use ham instead.


Date Posted: 11/22/2009 1:18 PM ET
Member Since: 12/29/2007
Posts: 462
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I haven't made stew in ages..... Would be good after all the turkey! Thanks for the recipe.

Date Posted: 11/22/2009 1:23 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2006
Posts: 1,032
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I love stew and always on the look out for great recipes.  Thank you for sharing!!!