Monday, December 14, 2009

Homemade Southern Beef Stew

A savory southern beef stew, made from chunks of seasoned chuck roast, a mixture of beef stock and water, loads of herbs, potatoes, celery and carrots, rich and loaded with flavor.
A savory southern-style beef stew, made from chunks of seasoned chuck roast, a mixture of beef stock and water, loads of herbs, potatoes, celery and carrots, rich and loaded with flavor.

Classic Homemade Beef Stew with Vegetables


Like creamy butter beans, Homemade Southern Beef Stew is another one of those belly warmin', budget stretchin' meals that's pretty popular this time of year. The weather this weekend was absolutely perfect for it too.

This is an old standby beef stew recipe that I've used since the late 70s and have made very few changes to the basic recipe since then. It's a wonderfully savory stew, with loads of herbs (use fresh if you have them), rich and just full of flavor.

Here's how to make it.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium high heat in a large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed soup pot. Cut the meat into chunks about 1-inch in size and pat dry well with paper towels. Whisk together flour, salt and pepper in a medium bowl and toss the beef in batches, lightly coating with the flour mixture.


Shake off excess flour, add to pot in batches and brown. Remove the meat and set aside; continue cooking the beef in batches until all of it is browned, adding more oil as needed. Take care not to overcrowd the pot or the meat will steam more than sear, so better to brown the meat in batches.


Add sliced onion and celery to the pot drippings and cook until lightly caramelized. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add a few tablespoons of the beef stock/broth to the pot to deglaze the pot, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom. My favorite packaged stock is Kitchen Basics. It's far richer than most commercial broth and there are a number of varieties available now.


Add remaining beef broth, water and beef base; bring to a boil.


While it is optional, I also love using Better than Bouillon in this stew and in my beef soups. It's a pantry staple for me. Look how rich it is. You can't get that from bouillon cubes.


Return the seared beef to the pot, add thyme, rosemary, celery seed, basil, paprika and Cajun seasoning.


Reduce to a low simmer, add bay leaves and simmer uncovered for about 2 hours.


Add the potatoes and carrots, bring back up to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook an additional 15 minutes; taste and adjust seasonings as needed. You can also use a variety of potatoes of course - I most often find myself using either peeled russets or unpeeled red potatoes, because those are the ones I usually have on hand.


Thickening the stew further is optional but I usually do. I wrote the recipe using a cornstarch slurry since most folks have cornstarch in their kitchens, but I love using Wondra, which is also a pantry staple for me. It's perfect for thickening and unlike flour or cornstarch, you can sprinkle it right in whatever you're cooking. Whisk in the slurry or the Wondra, stirring until blended. Cook another 5 to 10 minutes or until the vegetables are completely fork tender and stew has thickened.


Dig in!


For more of my favorite stew recipes, visit my page on Pinterest!


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Posted by on December 14, 2009

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A savory southern-style beef stew, made from chunks of seasoned chuck roast, a mixture of beef stock and water, loads of herbs, potatoes, celery and carrots, rich and loaded with flavor.


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