Did you have a favorite cookbook while you were growing up? I sure did! It was actually the "Better Homes and Garden Cookbook" but we called it the red checked cookbook and all the ladies had one. It's obvious why that was the nickname, but, in hindsight, nicknames are ususally shorter than than the original name. Not in this case. I think that is terribly funny, don't you?I was thinking of this book the other day when I was planning my menu. It's winter, it's cold, it's wet and it is windy!! What better meal to serve than a warm, hearty stew? My son is a picky eater and you may have one too. Recently I found out that he likes my Mom's beef stew. I called her and asked her for the recipe. Do you know what she told me? "You have it! It's in the red checked cookbook". Ha, I have two copies, compliments of my Mama.
So, tonight, after my husband comes home from a long day of work, really hard work, we are going to sit down to a big bowl of beef stew. Hmmm...maybe some cornbread to go with it. Yummy, I can already smell it cooking and am getting hungry. Guess I better get up and get to cooking. Come on into my kitchen with me. You can help cut the veggies!! This is all you need!
2 lbs. beef chuck, cut in 1 1/2 inch cubes
2 tbsp fat
4 cups boiling water
1 tbsp lemon juice, fresh, frozen, or canned (optional)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic
1 medium onion, sliced
1 to 2 bay leaves
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
Dash allspice or cloves
6 carrots, quartered
1 lb (18 to 24) small white onions.Thoroughly brown meat on all sides in hot fat; add water, lemon juice, worcestershire sauce, garlic, sliced onion, bay leaves, and seasonings. Cover, simmer 2 hours; stir occasionally to keep from sticking. Remove bay leaves and garlic.
Add carrots, onion. (Cubed potatoes may be added.) Cover; continue cooking 30 minutes or till vegetables are done. Remove vegetables and meat; thicken juices for gravy. 6-8 servings.
I, of course, changed the recipe to suit my family's tastes. First, I mixed some flour, black pepper and seasoned salt. I then rolled the meat in the flour mixture before I browned the meat. This ensured that I had flavorful meat as well as self made gravy like broth. I left out the "gravy making" step.
I had to put this picture in because it shows all that fragrant steam. Can you see it? Look really close. It smelled so good while I was browning it.
This is the step where you can go read for a bit. The meat has to cook to tenderness before you add any of the vegetables. And, boy, was that meat tender. You could cut it with just a fork!
Now doesn't that look worth the effort? As you can see, I decided on homemade biscuits. they were so delicious!
Just typing in this recipe is making my mouth water. Why don't you make this and let me know how you liked it and what you changed. If you are like me, a recipe is a suggestion, not a law. I always leave out the salt. I roll the beef pieces in seasoned flour before frying. When everything is simmering together, this will make it thicker. I like my stew thick so that I can slop up the broth with cornbread or a biscuit. Mmmmm...maybe biscuits!
Until we talk again, happy cooking,