Come along, class, while the Damsel shows you how to make beef stew the Old School way. Easy!
Beef stew is one method Grandma used to make a little meat go a long way. Cheaper, better for you…and yummy.
Now then. We’re going to skip right over the part where you raise a beef cow, have it slaughtered, aged, packed, etc. The Damsel is going to get right to it.
The Damsel bought that package of stew meat they have at Costco and used about a third of it. This is going to make a BIG pot of stew, so it’s a pretty cheap dealio. If there are pieces that seem too big, cut them with kitchen shears. Heat a little oil in a large, heavy pot and then brown the meat pieces.
When it’s all nice and brown, add about a quart of water. But this isn’t one of those recipes where measuring is important.
Put the lid on and let it simmer for a couple of hours. Just like that, just the meat and water. Looks kind of yucky, but press forward.
Poke a piece of meat with a fork. When it’s tender, it’s time to start adding stuff. Oh, and if there’s scummy floaties, you can skim those off at this point.
Peel and chunk up some potatoes. The Damsel used 9 medium small ones. Throw ’em in.
Carrots too. This is the perfect place to use up carrots that are getting past their prime. Not ancient, mind you, but middle-aged is okay. Using regular carrots instead of baby-cut is cheaper. The Damsel is concerned that people will forget, and start thinking that carrots atually grow like little thumb shaped things.
Throw in some onion. The Damsel’s sprog don’t like giant pieces, so she got dicey. About a cup but whatever.
Put in a bay leaf, and salt and pepper. Don’t be shy. Let this cook till the veggies are tender. It can hold quite a while at this stage if the heat’s pretty low.
Dump in some corn and peas. The Damsel used a cup or so each of the frozen type. Canned is also fine. If you use canned, dump the liquid in too. There’s flavor in them there cans. As a matter of fact, Grandma often saved veggie cooking liquid or liquid drained from cans of veggies for just such a pot of stew, in a slush bucket in the back of the fridge.
You could stop right there, and get out the bowls and spoons. The veggies take like one minute to warm through, so start ringing the dinner bell. If you want, you could scoop out a bunch of broth, pour it into a saucepan, and thicken it like gravy with a flour-and-cold-water mixture, and then return it to the stew pot. It’s up to you and how many ankle-biters you have clamoring for dinner by now.