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This is weather for having something bubbling on the stove, so I made a batch of beef stew according to the basic method I learned from my mother. But she made only one version which she called "My Stew" which was a recipe from one of the celebrity chefs of the 70s. It's a good stew: beef chunks, onion, bell pepper, potatoes, with tomato sauce. But it was the only beef stew she made.

I think it can be variable, depending on what you have on hand, sort of a Chef's Special kind of production.

I hadn't done anything with stew beef for a while, so I got some. It had some fat and gristle, probably trimmings, but that's the same kind of thing that can become rich and juicy after long slow cooking in a smoker, or in a stew pot.

First I cut the chunks down into much smaller bite-sized pieces. Then I browned them in batches in a heavy iron pot (Mom's old Le Creuset) to get some of that roasted-beef flavor. Separately, I brought a little pot of water to a simmer.

I turned down the heat and let the pot cool a bit, then I put the browned beef back in and poured the hot water over it, "to cover" as they say. Then that was it for a while, put the lid on and just let it go slowly for at least an hour, better two.

At this point, it's time to plan on exactly what's going in, and how long it will need to cook, so plan backwards. I already had some brown lentils soaking, so those go in first. Time for some salt and pepper and rosemary - homegrown, dried, and ground with kosher salt in a mortar and pestle. Simmer. One large onion, diced a bit large to match the size of the beef. More simmer time, along with a small can of plain tomato sauce. Then the frozen sliced carrots. Simmer while cutting up the red potatoes. Put those in and when they're cooked (but not turned to mush yet, that's why they're last to go in) it's ready to serve.

There can be so many variations on this. It could very easily become Mexican, or Middle Eastern.
 

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Sounds great! Any good bread or grilled cheese to go with??
I like taking a crusty French bread an making mini grilled cheese Sammy's from the slices to go with my soups an chilis....

A little off topic but if anyone is ever at deer creek in mountstearling stop at frosties for some chili. There a little convenience mart/bait store an sell it bye the bowl. Stuff was outstanding. Especially after fishing in a snowstorm,warmed me up enough to fish another 2 hours!
 

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I had lamb stew at a tasting of Aussie wines. I like lamb anyway but the stew was out of this world!

My buddy worked as a fry cook, short order cook, and pizza maker in college. Whenever he'd make a big pot of chili or beef stew he'd bake a couple of baguettes. Crunchy crust but so nice and soft on the inside!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I wonder, that basic combination of beef, onion and bell pepper - how about cooking that as kebabs, then build a stew around that? Grilled stew.
 

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Exactly! I kind of make beef stew the same way I make chili. You have your basics and augment from there. You have your stew beef, onions, and bell peppers. These make a good kebab, but we'd also include mushrooms. There was one Summer me and my buddies went kebab krazy! We'd build a hardwood fire, put the grate over it, and cook kebabs over the coals! Oh man! With a cooler full of cold beer it was so good!

With stew you just need broth, potatoes, peas, carrots, and just about anything else you'd care to throw in there within reason.
 
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