Friday, August 27, 2010

Mama's Classic Beef Stew

The weather has finally cooled off. This afternoon I stopped by a local farm to buy a few things. I bought a few tomatoes that look and smell like real tomatoes. These are the big beefsteak tomatoes that weigh a pound a piece and make for awesome tomato sandwiches (yes, I'm a hillbilly at heart). They had "candy onions" which I suppose are so sweet one could mistake them for, well, candy. But what they are known for is their sweet corn, picked fresh each morning. I casually asked, "So, how long do you think the corn season's going to last?" I was taken aback when she answered, "We'll be done next weekend. With the summer being so hot for so long, all of the corn decided to ripen at the same time." Talk about a shock! We usually get corn well into September. I suppose all good things must come to an end.

With the change in weather, we've been enjoying a little bit of fall food this week. Yes, it's comfort food. There's nothing a piping hot bowl of good soup can't fix.

Besides tasting fabulous, the one thing that's guaranteed with this recipe is a home filled with the wonderful aroma of autumn. I think it's the pinch of ground cloves that does it. Oh! Oh! Oh! If you like beef stew, you will love this recipe. If you don't like beef stew, make this recipe just so your house can smell yummy!

Mama's Classic Beef Stew

What you will need:

2 pounds fat-trimmed boned beef chuck (or other cut suitable for stewing)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 to 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 sweet onion (about a cup) peeled and sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3 (14.5 oz) cans beef broth
1 pound thin-skinned new potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1 pound carrots, peeled and thinly sliced crosswise
3 stalks celery, rinsed and thinly sliced
8 ounces small boiling onions (buy frozen to save time)

1. Cut beef into 1 1/2 - to 2-inch chunks. Put flour in paper bag. Add beef and shake to coat with flour.

2. Pour 3 tablespoons oil into 5 to 6 quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When hot, add half the meat; turn pieces as necessary until well browned on all sides, about 8 to 10 minutes total. Transfer to a bowl. If pan is dry, add 1 to 2 more tablespoons oil. Add remaining beef and any extra flour in bag; repeat to brown pieces on all sides. Return all meat and juices to pan.

3. Add small amount of beef broth to bottom of pan, scraping up browned bits. Add remaining beef broth (all 3 cans) then add sliced onion, minced garlic, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, salt, sugar, paprika, pepper and ground cloves to pan. Bring mixture to a simmer. Cover pan tightly, reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until beef is tender, one and a half to two hours.

4. Increase heat to high and add potatoes, carrots, celery, and boiling onions to pan. Once the mixture comes to a low boil, reduce heat to low and continue cooking, covered, until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes longer.

Note: I let the veggies cook about an hour since we like them very tender. For leftovers, serve over cooked white rice. Thanks for the idea, sister-in-love, Mildred!



  1. Sounds so yummy!! :D I love beef stew.

  2. mmmm...sounds good! I've never put cloves in stew before!