Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What's For Dinner: My Best Beef Stew

It's definitely stew season in these here parts. Temperatures today were in the low 30's, with flakes of snow and a wind chill in the teens. It was 50 degrees a couple days ago...but that's how March is. Teases of spring mixed with serious winter.

I found a stew similar to mine on the Fun with Barb blog. She serves her stew with an Oat Wheat bread, which looked like a great combo, so I printed off the recipes as inspiration in October 2011.  I finally got around to making my stew, but mostly because my husband noticed the fantastic stew meat at a great price during our last trip to Meijer's grocery store.

My Best Beef Stew

2 pounds beef stew meat (or cut your own chunks from sirloin)
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 - 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
Olive oil or other vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped into bigger pieces (1/2 to 3/4 inch), about 2 cups
2 tablespoons beef base
4 - 5 cups water
4 - 5 medium potatoes (I used red skin), cut into large cubes
1 pound baby carrots, halved
3 ribs celery, trimmed and cut into 1-inch sections
3 ounces tomato paste (half a can)
Optional vegetables to include: green beans, green peas, etc.

Put the flour and seasoned salt in a large zipper food bag, and add about one-third of the meat at a time. Shake to cover beef with flour, and remove pieces, shaking off excess flour back in the bag. Repeat with the rest of the beef cubes.
In a large Dutch Oven, heat oil over medium, and add floured beef cubes, a small batch at a time. Brown on all sides and remove from oil as they are done and set aside to make room for the next batch.

Once beef is done, add onions and cook for 2 to 3 minutes over medium heat, stirring to prevent burnt pieces. Add the cooked beef, water, and beef base to the onions in the Dutch oven, and stir to dissolve the beef base. Cover and simmer 1.5 to 2 hours. Then add cubed potatoes, carrots and celery and simmer another 30-45 minutes. Add the tomato paste to thicken gravy at the end (the dish does not look or taste like tomatoes, in case you are wondering). Makes great leftovers.

Makes about 12 cups of beef stew. Nutritional information per one cup:   222 calories, 19 grams protein, 7 grams fat, 19 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 45 milligrams cholesterol, 582 milligrams sodium.

p.s. I did make the oat wheat bread from the Fun with Barb blog linked above, but had "yeast failure" (I was waiting for the yeast to bubble during the proofing stage, but it never did. I proofed a second packet of yeast --different brand--and that bubbled in 10 minutes. That put me behind and the bread was done after we were done with dinner (it should take about the same time as stew, as long as everything goes right).  It might be wise to start the bread an hour before you start the stew, if you want to serve them together.

Also, the bread baking directions say the oven temperature is 305, but I used 350F (the other number is likely a typo) and baked for 40 minutes. The bread turned out great.

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