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real Beef Stew - simplified

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Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1304
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2020 6:26 pm    Post subject: real Beef Stew - simplified Reply with quote

sometimes I get too involved in making stuff so fussy - then get whapped back to reality by one of those delicious plain and simple dishes.
you'll find recipes with a pinch of this, a dash of that . . . 10-15 ingredients....which usually add nothing to the stew.....

so, this is my KISSing beef stew:

chuck meat - our butcher offers a "chuck filet" cut - methinks that's strictly a local shop thing - it's a slice about 1 inch thick from the larger end of a chuck roast; semi trimmed. two slices come to roughly one pound - so this isn't from a 4 ft diameter roast...

trim out large fat chunks and any gristle you find - slice & dice into roughly 1" cubes.
spread out and kosher salt - allow to stand for minimum one hour.

the choice of beef cut is important - chuck is the most flavorful but you have to trim out all the connective tissue / gristle / etc - the stuff I buy often loses 30-40% of it's weight to "trim" - I slice it longwise, then feel along the strips as I cut it into chunks for any hard spot/hidden gristle/etc.
see the pix:

(I like to do all the prep in one go, so . . .)
- prep approx one cup celery - sliced longwise then diced to about 1/2 inch
- one large + one medium leek - 1.5 cups - remove root, remove tops - the firm light green top portion can/should be used. slice longwise then dice similar to celery.
- three medium starchy potatoes - peel and dice to roughly 1 inch cubes. store in bowl of water so they don't brown while waiting. use a starchy potato like russet or Idaho as the starch makes the gravy/sauce of the stew....
- peel and cross slice 2-3 carrots to 1/4 inch thickness; about one cup.

when ready, olive oil in a deep pot, heat to shimmer, saute the beef chunks so you get about 50% dark crust. use a slotted spoon to remove from pot - retain fond/fat.

add leek and celery to pot - lightly salt - black pepper to taste - reduce heat to sweat down and soften the vegetables, stir often - add a splash of water to dissolve the fond.

when the vegetables have softened, add diced potatoes to the pot, add beef stock/water to cover potatoes, cover pot and bring to a light boil.

the light boiling will cause starchy potatoes to "disintegrate" a bit - that thickens the stew.
takes about 2 hours.

taste check for salt! potatoes need a bit more salt than may be expected to bring out their flavor.
continue to cook for roughly one hour until the potatoes begin to powder off and thicken the stew.

when the broth starts to thicken, add meat, add carrots. cover pot and simmer gently for another 30 minutes. check the pot 2-3 times! it can get too thick and scorch!

serve with biscuits or rolls.

that's it - chuck, potato, leek (or onion), celery, carrot and stock/water. not much more KISSable than that - and it was super yummy on a cold day. plain, simple, honest beef stew.

I reiterate the 'check salt' note - you don't want it salty, but too little and it's bland bland. the salt needs time to do its thing - so check early in the cooking time. going slow is not a crime - add a little, recheck in 10 minutes. add more if needed.

green peas or green beans or sweet corn could dress it up a bit without spoiling the 'just stew' taste. but adding a lot of seasonings just muddies the water....
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Joined: 28 Nov 2017
Posts: 38
Location: Calabarzon, Philippines

PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2020 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow!!! I am gonna try this. Thanks dude!
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Joined: 28 Nov 2017
Posts: 94

PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2020 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You should also post a pic of the cooked food to make us salivate Wink

Reading the recipe seems a very delicious dish Big smile
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