Tuesday, February 26

Beef Stew + A Crafty Sneak Peek

Yesterday I decided I wanted beef stew. I don't know why. It's not something I normally crave and I've never made it before. But anyway, I bought a few ingredients and ended up taking elements from several recipes and putting them together because they all had great qualities, but weren't exactly what I wanted. The recipe I came up with was pretty simple (the hardest part was just waiting for everything to cook since it makes your house--or in my case, apartment--smell amazing). I like my stews thick, so the addition of cornstarch in the end was great. It reminded me a bit of some of the stews I had in England and Ireland. Try it. Sorry for the lack of pictures -- I forgot about it until the next day and while leftover stew may still taste delicious, it doesn't look so delicious in photos.

Old-Fashioned Beef Stew
1-2 lbs stew beef (I bought a cheap cut, about 1.5 pounds)
3-4 large carrots
1 medium sized onion
2 large potatoes
2-3 Tbs. vegetable oil
3 cups beef broth
1 Tbs. worcestershire sauce
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Dash of ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
2 Tbs. cornstarch + 1/4 cup water

Cut your beef into cubes. Brown them in oil in your soup pot. I sprinkled them with kosher salt as they were cooking but that's up to you.  Once the meat is cooked, add your beef broth, worcestershire sauce (try saying that three times fast), garlic, bay leaves, salt, sugar, pepper, paprika, cloves, and parsley. Cover and let simmer for at least 1 1/2 hours. I cooked mine for longer since my beef roast was a cheap one (I believe I left it to simmer for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours). Remove the bay leaves. Peel and cut your carrots and potatoes into cubes. Add them to the stew, cover again, and simmer for another 40 minutes (or until veggies are tender. None of those crunchy potatoes here). And here's the important part for thick stew . . . after your veggies cook, mix 1/4 cup water with 2 Tbs. cornstarch in a bowl and stir until the mixture is smooth. Then add a 1/2 cup or so of the broth from your stew to the mixture and mix again. Pour the mixture back into your soup pot, stirring as you do so. Magic. Your stew is now thick. Taste the stew -- it may need more salt or pepper. Once you're satisfied, ladle it into bowls and enjoy.

And here's a sneak peek of a spring/Easter craft I started last weekend that just needs a few finishing touches this weekend. 

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