A big pot of beef stew cooking away on the stove smells so good! With the windows closed to keep out the cold, the entire house just fills up with the scent and it feels all warm and cozy.
(And as usual, whatever else you want because stew is easy like that!)
Step 1: Brown the meat. You can do this with the onions if you want a little more flavor.
Step 2: Put everything else in the pot. Like I said, you can brown the onions first if you want a little more onion-y flavor. I like to make stew differently every time because I think that the point of it is to make a hearty meal AND to use up whatever you have. So it just lends itself to experimentation. (I always cut the stock with plain water because otherwise it's too salty, in my opinion.)
|Ha ha! I told you we eat late at night!|
Step 3: Bring your beef stew to a boil then turn it down and cover it. Let it simmer for a while. If you look up beef stew recipes you'll find a lot of different suggestions about how long it needs to cook. My feelings are: the longer the better. I like to cook it all for at least 3 hours. Since I was home for the whole night, I cooked it in this super heavy cast iron dutch oven so I could watch it. But sometimes you just can't sit around monitoring the flames all day long. I've made beef stew in my crock pot a million times and it comes out the same. :)
Step 4: Check on your stew once in a while and give it a stir to make sure that everything gets to sit in the liquid. You can always add more water if you need to. The starchy root vegetables make the broth a little thick but flour or cornstarch is what you'll need if you want it to be super thick. I didn't do that this time. Another thing you can do at this point, if you want, is to dump in some beer or the rest of your red wine that you might have been drinking while cooking to give it a little flavor boost.
Step 5: Is it done yet?! The meat should fall apart in little shreds without much effort and the potatoes should break apart easily when the stew is ready.
Step 6: Eat the stew. Butter some bread and use it to soak up the last drops of broth at the bottom of your bowl. Repeat for lunch tomorrow. Be so happy. :)
What's your favorite comfort food for Fall?