This is one of my most requested meals. Beef stew is one of the ultimate fall and winter comfort foods, a great make-ahead one-dish meal for working moms and dads, and it freezes well. My beef stew recipe is a combination of my Mom’s, my Mother-in-Law’s and my own additions. My memories of this dish include my Mom making it ahead on her Tuesday days off so it was ready to finish up and serve later in the week. Other memories include my mother-in-law serving it upon our arrival at their home in Colorado after we’d spent a long day driving to get there. The smell of her house with the stew cooking always felt like “coming home.”
I generally make my beef stew in large batches because that’s the way I’ve always needed to prepare it. I’ve cut that amount in half for this recipe as most of you will want to start with a smaller amount to begin with. NOTE: This recipe takes quite a bit of time to prepare, usually around 4-5 hours.
1 1/2 – 2 pounds beef stew meat cut into bit sized pieces
1 cup flour
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
freshly ground black pepper
4 cups low sodium beef broth
4 medium carrots, cut into bite sized pieces
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
2 medium onions, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
1 can green beans, drained
1 packet brown gravy mix
1 cup water
Heat vegetable oil over medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed dutch oven. Mix together the flour, salt and pepper in a bowl. Dredge the stew meat, covering each piece in flour.
Add the stew meat to the hot oil, covering the bottom of the pan. Work in batches to brown all sides of the stew meat, making sure you don’t overcrowd the pan. Return all meat to the pan along with any remaining flour, sprinkling it over the top. Add the beef broth to the pan, making sure meat is completely covered.
Cover the pan and either cook slowly over a medium-low heat on your stove top, or braise in a 350 degree oven for about 2-3 hours. Check occasionally to stir the beef and to make sure you have sufficient liquid remaining in the beef. This will cook down into a thick gravy.
Meanwhile, prep your veggies. The carrots and the onions will take longer than the potatoes and the green beans to cook. When beef mixture has cooked down and is tender, add the carrots and onions to the pan, mixing well. Add enough water to just cover the vegetables. Return to the oven or continue cooking on your stove top. After the carrots and onions have cooked for about 30-45 minutes, add the potatoes and the green beans. Again, check the liquid to make sure there is sufficient cover the vegetables.
When the vegetables are tender (this will probably take about an hour and a half), combine the gravy mix in a bowl with 1 cup water. Mix well and add to the stew. Combine well. Let cook for about 10 minutes and taste. Add more kosher salt and pepper at this point according to your tastes.