The Gourmet Touch: For versatile one-bowl meal, think beef stew
by Prudence Hilburn
Special to The Star
Jan 22, 2013 | 2498 views |  0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
If you want a good warmer-upper in cold weather, think beef stew. It is a one-bowl meal because most beef stews give you a meat and at least three vegetables.

When I was a young cook, I remember wanting to make a pot of beef stew. You can imagine my disappointment when I couldn’t find my favorite recipe.

Of course, any good beef stew needs potatoes, carrots and onions. I also like the taste of tomatoes in stew.

I decided to look through some of my cookbooks to see if I could find a basic stew recipe that was similar to the one I’d misplaced.

I never realized the versatility of beef stew until I was doing the research. One interesting recipe substituted apple cider for beef broth. It also called for a little vinegar, I suppose to give it a sweet and sour flavor.

Another recipe called for sweet potatoes, tomatoes and cabbage, which I thought seemed like an unusual combination of vegetables. I like sweet potatoes but not in beef stew.

The recipe that I chose is from “Better Homes and Gardens Soups & Stews Cook Book.” It is a good starter recipe because it allows you to pick your own vegetables and also lets you vary the meat and seasonings. Of course, over the years I have made a few changes to this basic recipe.

If your time in the kitchen is limited, you might prefer a recipe I found for quick beef stew from the Borden Kitchens. It takes only about 45 minutes. The use of cubed steak instead of beef cubes cuts down on the cooking time.

If you like gourmet dishes, simply stir in a little red wine while cooking the stew. The alcohol will cook out, of course, leaving only a rich and delicious flavor.

Basic Beef Stew

Makes 6 servings

1 ½ pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon prepared mustard or prepared horseradish
½ teaspoon dried herb, crushed (basil, oregano, marjoram or thyme)
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 (10 ½ or 10 ¾ ounce) can condensed beef broth
5 cups fresh vegetables cut into 1-inch pieces (any combination of peeled potatoes, carrots, celery, rutabagas, turnips, onions, parsnips or green peppers)
¼ cup cold water
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

In a large soup pot, brown half of the beef at a time in hot oil. Transfer all meat to pan and stir in garlic, bay leaf, salt, mustard (or horseradish), dried herb and pepper. Add condensed beef broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until meat is nearly tender (about 1 1/4 hours). Add vegetables. Cover and simmer about 30 minutes or until beef and vegetables are tender.

Blend water and flour; stir into stew. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Remove bay leaf.

Quick Beef Stew

Makes 4 servings

1 pound cubed steaks, cut into chunks
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 tablespoons flour
2 medium carrots, pared and sliced
2 medium potatoes, pared and cut into quarters
1 medium onion, cut in quarters
1 cup frozen cut green beans
1 ½ cups water
1 tablespoon beef-flavor instant bouillon (or 3 beef-flavor bouillon cubes)
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon thyme leaves

In a large saucepan, brown meat and garlic in vegetable oil. Stir in flour until smooth. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil then reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

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The Gourmet Touch: For versatile one-bowl meal, think beef stew by Prudence Hilburn
Special to The Star

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