Easy Beef Stew
neala wrote: 
>i'd like to make an simple to put-together beef stew. i've never made one 
>before. can you please help me to find a beginner's recipe? thank you. 
most important thing with a good beef stew is to braise the meat well 
the initial browning. this means that you add a *little* bit of water - 
1/4 cup, say - and let it simmer away on a fairly high heat, uncovered, 
stirring occasionally so the meat doesn't stick. when it's almost dry, 
do this 2 or 3 times in all before actually adding the water to simmer the 
meat until tender. this is what gets all those good, brown juices full of 
and color in your stew! note that there's a specific order to add the 
that's because carrots take the longest to cook, if you like them in your 
stew. always add them first, even if you cut them small. and if you use 
the beef 
bouillon/dry soup, go easy on the salt when seasoning the meat. (i add 
these because no matter how good a broth i get from braising, once you add 
the water for the potatoes, it gets really diluted. and i like a lot of 
gravy with my stew. <g>) 
beef stew 
1 lb.  beef, cut into 1" cubes
  any kind of cheaper steak, such as round, or a chuck roast, etc. 'stew
  is way overpriced...)
2 tsp  oil, margarine or other fat
  several cups water
  salt and pepper
1   whole bay leaf
1/2 to 1 cup  red wine (optional)
2 - 3   beef bouillon cubes, or a package of dry onion or onion-mushroom soup
  potatoes, 3-5; one large or 2-3 smaller onions; 4-5 carrots
  several tablespoons of flour dissolved in water for thickening gravy
in large, heavy pot with a lid, heat the oil or other fat over medium 
high. season beef cubes with salt and pepper. add beef to pot and brown, 
still on medium high heat, stirring occasionally to brown all sides 
evenly. the meat juices will be drawn out after a bit and slow the 
browning down; just keep the heat up, it will begin drying out after a 
bit. when most of the juices have evaporated and beef is nicely brown, add 
about 1/4 cup of water. braise the meat until the water is almost gone, 
stirring once in a while. repeat this at least once, or until the meat is 
a really good, dark brown. 
add water to cover, at least 1" above the meat. (if you're going to use 
the wine, add it now, too; reduce the water by as much wine as you use.) 
add the bay leaf. taste the broth and add more salt or pepper as needed. 
put lid on and bring to a simmer, then turn heat to medium or lower; 
whatever keeps the meat steadily simmering, not at a hard boil. simmer 
steadily, adding water as necessary to keep the meat covered, until the 
beef is tender--usually a couple of hours. at this point, you can continue 
on to complete the stew for a meal, or cool it in the fridge, remove 
excess fat, and freeze/refrigerate for later use. about an hour before 
serving, add another cup or two of water. (depending on how many potatoes 
you're adding. <g> you want enough broth to cover the potatoes.) pour in 
some more red wine, if desired. remove the bay leaf. (bay leaf stems can 
cause intestinal damage, if someone accidentally eats it.) add beef 
bouillon cubes or packet of dry soup, to taste. bring back to a steady 
peel carrots, cut into 1/2" chunks and add to stew. cover and cook for 
about 10 minutes. peel the potatoes - or not - and cut into chunks, 
whatever size takes your fancy. add to stew, and simmer, covered, for 
another 20 minutes or so. test carrots and potatoes for tenderness with a 
fork. when they're tender, peel the onion(s) and cut into 1/2" chunks. add 
to stew, re-cover, and cook about another 10 minutes, or until onions are 
tender. if you like a thicker stew, at this point shake up 2 to 3 
tablespoons flour with approx. 1/3 to 1/2 cup water in a small jar, making 
a medium-thick solution. strain to remove any lumps. bring stew to a boil, 
and while stirring, slowly pour flour and water mixture into stew, until 
it thickens to the point you want. go slow, so you don't add too much of 
the flour-and-water. once thickened, turn heat back down to a simmer and 
cook, covered, for 5 minutes so the flour doesn't give it a 'raw' taste. 
taste for seasonings, correct as necessary, and serve. 
other notes: add any other vegetable your family likes. dried parsley and 
those mixed dried vegetables in a jar from the spice section are good to 
add while you're simmering the meat by itself. and of course, if you don't 
like onions or carrots, leave 'em out! stew is a very do-it-yourself 
thing. you can make it as plain as possible, or gussy it up however you 
like. boeuf bourguignon, after all, is basically just beef stew with 
(ID: 12128) Mirror: rec.food.recipes: Mon, Jun 23, 2003

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