Thursday, October 8, 2015

Classic Beef Stew

Per usual, it's gone straight from summer to winter here in the bluegrass state, so I figured there was no better time for beef stew.  Seriously, guys.  It was rainy, cloudy and in the 50's over the weekend.  Yes, I realize that's not actually winter weather but when it was in the 80's last week--well, it feels COLD. 

 What is it about beef stew that warms the soul?  It may be the quintessential winter meal.  Warm, meaty, comforting.  I just want to curl up with Dolce and some blankets while wearing sweats and watching Netflix after I eat this. See what I mean?

Beef stew wasn't something my mother ever really had in her dinner rotation.  Pot roast? Yes.  Roast chicken?  Check. Vegetable soup?  Obviously.  But never beef stew, which confuses me as to why I find it in my cool weather menu constantly.  My favorite thing about cool weather foods is how most of them always taste better the next day. Why is that? I'm sure there is some scientific answer that a genius has figured out and that I totally wouldn't understand if it was explained to me. I'll stop questioning it and just enjoy this beef stew for lunch tomorrow. And maybe the day after that. I heart leftovers.  For those you you who don't, this also freezes beautifully. 

I have seen so many variations on beef stew--served over buttered noodles, on top of mashed potatoes (uh, yum), but for me, I prefer my beef stew sitting on top of biscuits. What? You haven't tried that before? I suggest you get to the kitchen right now to make these biscuits. Once you've made them a few times you'll be able to make them in your sleep. I recently made 120 for my cousins wedding rehearsal. To say I have the recipe memorized is an understatement. They're soft and chewy with a little crispyness to the bottom layer. Delish! I wonder what it would be like on top of cheese grits? Note to self: try this. Soon. 

No matter how you serve up this stew, just make sure you make it. It basically says I love you. In one pot. Not having a thousand dishes to wash also says I love you. That's the best kind of love. 

What's your favorite stew and what's your favorite way to serve it? Comment and let me know! 

Classic Beef Stew

Total time: 3 hours

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds stew beef
1 cup yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons worchestershire sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 heaping tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon dried thyme
32 ounces beef broth
2 cups water
1 1/2- 2 cups carrots, roughly chopped 
1 1/2- 2 cups potatoes, roughly chopped 
1-2 cups frozen peas

Heat oil in a stock pot over medium heat. Add half of the beef and cook for about 5 minutes or until all sides of beef have browned. Remove from pan and transfer to a plate. Repeat with the other half of beef.  

Return beef to pan with onion and continue to cook for about 5 minutes or until onion starts to become translucent. Season with 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and thyme. 

Add the worchestershire sauce, tomato paste and flour.  Mix well, scraping up the goodness from the bottom of the pan. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes. 

Pour in beef broth slowly.  Add water. Mix well. 

Reduce heat and simmer for at least 90 minutes. (The longer it simmers, the better it is)

Add carrots and potatoes.  Turn heat back up to medium. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat back to simmer and continue cooking for at least an hour. 

Check seasonings and adjust as needed.

Add peas about 10 minutes before serving.  

Ladle into a bowl of biscuits, mashed potatoes or simply nothing at all. Enjoy your warm soup belly. 

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