Monday, July 20, 2015

Beef Stew is a Comfort Favorite.

I enjoy making beef stew; a comforting collection of tender beef and vegetables, richly seasoned broth and lots of love.  When I decide to make stew, I put a lot of thought into my mood that day, and it helps me determine how to cook the stew, also what vegetables to use.  Do I want to add red wine or not; perhaps some diced chilies, or more onion than usual, or mushrooms?  Bet you didn't know that stew could be such a constructive culinary project?

One beef stew I've made for family, sometimes friends too, is my Country Beef Stew which takes two days and bakes in the oven.  I usually have to make two casserole dishes full, and there still aren't any leftovers.  When using the crock pot, I usually mix in flour with the beef cubes, and don't brown the meat; this time I changed it up.  The vegetables were the typical onions, potatoes and carrots; make sure to parboil the potatoes and carrots to make sure they come out nice and tender.  I like using the crock pot, but sometimes it still doesn't cook the vegetables properly.

Now beef stew in the summer?  Here in Monticello, the weather has been a bit strange this year; rain/snow showers until the middle of June; two weeks of excessive heat (we usually don't go over 85F, but went into the high 90s) end of June.  July 1st our monsoon season began right on time, but the temperatures have definitely cooled.  Wooly caterpillars have been seen since the end of May; I've always known that they signal an early winter, and a hard one.  My belief is that the tilting of the earth's axis, that occurred in 2012 (not the end of the planet), has a lot to do with all the climate changes around the Earth.  Give those Mayans credit, they said there would be great changes at the end of 2012, not the end of it all.  So. yeah, hot beef stew is perfect right now; especially served with homemade buttermilk biscuits.

Beef Stew for Crock Pot


2 ½ lbs. sirloin or eye round roast
½ cup flour
4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided in half
6 medium potatoes
1 lb. package baby carrots
1 large onion
1 ½ cups beef broth
½ tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder


Spray a 6 quart crock pot with nonstick spray.

Cut roast into 1 inch thick slices, the slices into 1 inch thick strips, the strips into 1 inch cubes. Coat the cubes in flour; heat 2 tablespoons oil in large skillet, medium-high heat, add half the cubes and brown on all sides; drain on paper towels. Repeat with second half of cubes; place browned and drained cubes in bottom of crock pot.

Cut potatoes in half lengthwise, cut into 1 inch strips, the strips into 1 inch cubes. Place into 5 quart pot with the baby carrots, cover with water; parboil for 15 minutes.

While these are parboiling, cut the onion into ¼ inch strips; place over the beef in crock pot.

 Drain potatoes and carrots; spread out over the onions.

In a medium bowl, mix together beef broth, black pepper and garlic powder; pour over ingredients in crock pot.

Set pot on low; cook for 8-10 hours until meat, potatoes and carrots are fork tender.

Makes 8 servings.

Mary Cokenour

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