Friday, February 6, 2009

Classic Beef Stew

Spring will be here before we know it, but for now most of the nation is experiencing freezing temperatures (I said most. I'd rather not think about all the lucky people out in 80 degree California). Since I'm on the east coast, I'm still taking advantage of the cold weather and making plenty of soups for dinner. There are so many recipes out there for exotic, fancy foods. But sometimes you just want something familiar. Something classic.

Beef stew is a staple in a lot of homes, including mine. It's budget friendly and super easy to make. The recipe I use is cooked in the oven, but you can also use a crockpot. My nights tend to get hectic. I always have a big plan to make dinner and sometimes it just doesn't turn out that way. The baby's crying, the dog's eating something she shouldn't, the house is a mess, I'm tired, everyone's hungry, etc. What I'm trying to say is, I love my crock pot. Throw all of this into the crock pot in the morning, turn it on low, and fuhggedaboutit!

I've been making this recipe since I got my Betty Crocker cookbook when my hubby and I were married. I think it was only the second cookbook I had ever owned. I don't use it all that often, but when I'm looking for the basics, it's where I turn. Every time I need to hard boil eggs, I pull the book out to find out the cooking time. Every time I'm roasting meat, I pull it out to find out at what temperature the meat is done. Basics like that. Someday I'll commit all that to memory, but in the meantime, I count on Betty. She's reliable like that.

Beef Stew
(from the Betty Crocker Cookbook)

1 lb. beef stew meat, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, cut into eighths
1 package (8 ozs.) baby-cut carrots
1 can (14.5 ozs.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (10.5 ozs.) condensed beef broth
1 can (8 ozs.) tomato sauce
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. dried marjoram leaves
1/4 tsp. pepper
12 new potatoes (1.5 pounds), cut into fourths
2 cups sliced mushrooms (about 5 ozs.)

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Mix all ingredients except potatoes and mushrooms in ovenproof 4-quart Dutch oven. Cover and bake 2 hours, stirring once.

3. Stir in potatoes and mushrooms. Cover and bake 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes or until beef and vegetables are tender.

Slow cooker directions: Chop onion (1/2 cup). Omit tomato sauce. Increase flour to 1/2 cup. Mix all ingredients except beef in slow cooker. Add beef (do not stir). Cover and cook on low heat setting 8 to 9 hours or until vegetables are tender. Stir well.

Makes 8 servings.


Nancy/n.o.e said...

I know how you feel about your BC cookbook. That's me and the Joy of Cooking. Beef stew is one of my very favorite dinners, especially when it's chilly outside. Your version looks great!

Anonymous said...

Yum, looks great! This is also the Beef Stew recipe I'm familiar with...delicious!

Cathy said...

This looks wonderful. We are having a spring-like day today (it's a tease I tell you, a tease!) and I know it will be freezing again by Tuesday. I am going to make this this week (in the crock pot, of course!) And I totally agree, the reality of the dinner hour can make us throw aside the best-laid plans!

Maria said...

A true classic! Perfect for a chilly day...or any day:)