This is my mom’s recipe. Nobody in our family remembers where she got it from, but it is a long-standing favorite that’s quite honestly older than dirt. Like most great recipes — it’s even better the second day.
4 tbs. (1/2 stick) real butter
2 lbs. beef stew meat (cubed into 1″ chunks)
flour for coating beef (reserve 1 tbs. if needed for sauce)
1 medium onion, diced
salt and pepper
1 tbs. garlic powder (not salt!)
1.5 quarts (6 cups) boiling water
2 tbs. celery flakes
2 bay leaves (optional)
1 tbs. beef base, to taste
1 tbs. Kitchen Bouquet® browning and seasoning sauce
Dash of Worchestershire sauce
5 good sized potatoes, peeled and quartered
4 large carrots, peeled and cubed
1 cup frozen peas
Place beef cubes in shaker bag with enough flour to coat. Shake until well covered, remove and set aside. You may need to do this in two batches.
Heat 4 tbs. butter in a heavy, 5-quart cast iron dutch oven over medium-high heat until melted.
Add the floured beef cubes and the diced onion to the pot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the garlic powder. Brown the beef cubes until they have a nice dark crust (about 30 minutes.) Stir occasionally with a wooden spatula and scrape any bits from the bottom of the pan.
NOTE: The browned crust is essential in adding the correct flavor, so don’t rush this step.
Deglaze the bottom of the pot by filling it with about 1.5 quarts of boiling water.
Stir to mix the meat. Add the beef base, Kitchen Bouquet, Worchestershire sauce, bay leaves and celery flakes. Heat to a rolling boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for two hours uncovered, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasoning if needed and add 1 tbs. reserved flour if the sauce is too thin.
While the pot is simmering, peel and quarter the potatoes and carrots. Reserve them in a pan of cold water until ready. Add them to the pot, simmer for an additional 45 minutes. Add the peas and simmer for 15 minutes longer or until potatoes and carrots are tender.
Stew should have a thick consistency. You can add a bit more water or beef broth if needed.
Serve with a crusty artisan bread and a nice salad.
Total time: 3.5 hours.
Makes 3 quarts.