Like I said, I got some time on my hand, and I have been craving beef stew, so I thought I would cook up a big batch of beef stew to store in the freezer and have for dinner. As I was doing it, I thought “why not share my recipe since it is so easy.”
Now be foreworned, this may not be how you have had beef stew or how you make beef stew, and I am certain it will piss off the professional chefs and the recipe afficionado types, because I don’t really have measurements. I just eyeball it and go.
What you will need for this (other than a big pot, and stove, and a knife), is the following:
Big ole hunk of beef: You can use anything you like from the cheaper cuts of beef. I had a massive chuck roast in the freezer that I bought for pennies on the dollars months ago because I still shop like I lived through the depression, so that is what I used. But you can use round, sirloin, brisket (although who would do that it is so damned expensive these days), etc.
Veggies: I am sure there are official veggies for some types when it comes to stew, but my attitude is you are the one eating it, put in whatever you damned well please. Personally, I added carrots, potatoes, turnips, onions, celery, parsnips, mushrooms, and peas to this one.
Flour and seasonings: Any old flour will do, but I had some AP on hand and that is what I used. For herbs, I had some fresh parsely, rosemary, and thyme, a head of garlick, and some bay leaves.
Oil: Any old oil will do. Again, I am sure some people will bitch about using a specific type, but I just used olive oil because I only have avocado, olive, sesame, and chili oil on hand and olive made the most sense.
Misc: Tomato paste, red wine, lee & perrins, beef stock.
Turn your sink on so it is cool, and give your beef a good wash and pat it dry with towels. Put it on the cutting board and ignore it. Fill your sink with cool water and half cup of salt, throw all your veg in it. This will serve to start the wash on your veg, firm up any loose celery or what not, get any bugs off it, etc.
Go back to your beef. Cut it up into cubes the size you want. Throw it all into a container (I just use a big cambro I have on hand). Give it a couple splashes lee & perrins, a little bit of salt, and grind some black pepper into it. Put the lid on, and vigorously shake it for a bit until the salt/pepper/wworcestershire sauce is evenly distributed it. Put it aside.
Wash your veg, drain the sink, pull the veg out and put in another container (or your stew pot). Clean your cutting board and dry it off. Begin chopping your veg.
Again, this is a personal thing as far as I am concerned. It’s stew. No one gives a shit about precision knife cuts. I personally want big hunks of veg because they all cook different. I cut all but the biggest mushrooms in half and quarter the others, and so on. Just user your own judgment this ain’t rocket surgery. Once all your veg is done, put it aside. Obviously you cut your garlic normally or use your press, etc.
Go back to your meat container, give it a shake, and throw in a quarter to half cup of ap. Shake the living shit out of it. While you are doing this, bring your skillet with the oil up to temperature. When done coating the beef with flour, start to brown it in the pot/skillet. Take your time you want it nice and browned on all sides. If you have more beef than you can do in one run, just make sure to add more oil and let it heat up. You can just go ahead and throw the browned pieces into your stew pot with your veg.
Once all the beef is done and in the stew point, deglaze your skillet with red wine. Get all that flavor out of there, add in some of your beef stock and the tomato paste, heat it up and stir until it is consistent, and then dump it into the stew pot.
At this point, everything should be in your stew pot. Throw in your beef stock. I use stock I made myself, but if you are buying it I would recommend the unsalted so you can salt to your liking. Throw in the rest of the wine, wrap your herbs in cheesecloth and chuck them in, and bring it up to temp.
And you are basically done. Once it is near a boil turn it down to a simmer, put a lid on it, and be like Elsa and Let it Go. Just fuck off for a few hours, checking every now and then to make sure you are not burning it and to give it a stir. If it seems to be too thick, add some more stock or water. Not think enough, make a roux and throw it in. If it needs salt, add salt.
When it is almost done I like to throw in a half stick of butter to give it a creamier mouth feel, but again, that is me.
Again, just have fun, this is something that is really hard to screw up.