Sunday, November 4, 2007

It Is Officially Comfort Food Season

This is my beef stew recipe. It reminds me of the stew I grew up having, although I have no idea how my mom made her stew. This is a thick meat and potatoes style stew. Nothing like a Boeuf Bourguignon if that's what stew means to you. I have changed things bit by bit over the years adding sweet potato as a thickening agent and a touch of molasses to the beef broth. The molasses really enhances the depth of flavor without being overly noticeable. This is delicious.

Sweet Potato And Molasses Beef Stew

1 lb stew meat (I cut this into smaller 1/2" chunks)
1/3 c flour
1 t paprika
1/2 t ground thyme
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper

place the flour and spices in a large Ziploc bag and mix together. Add the meat and shake to coat thoroughly.

1.5 T oil

Heat a large skillet with 1 T oil. Add a third of the coated meat and brown on all sides. Place the browned meat in a stock pot and then repeat the process with the rest of the meat adding the remaining oil to the pan as needed. You are just searing the meat you are not trying to cook it all the way through... it is okay if parts are still uncooked!

2 c beef broth
1 T molasses
2 bay leaves

Add the beef broth to cover the meat. Stir in the molasses and add the bay leaves. Heat the mixture up to a boil and then turn down to a simmer and cover the pot. Simmer this for 1 hour.

1.5 c diced sweet potato, peeled & cut into roughly 1/4" cubes (one medium sweet potato)

After the stew has simmered for 1 hour add 1 cup of the sweet potato and reserve the remaining 1/2 c. Return the stew to a steady simmer, cover, and cook for another 1/2 hour.

1 c carrot, peeled & cut into 1/2" pieces (about 2 medium carrots)
3/4 c celery, cut into 1/2" pieces ( about 2 stalks trimmed)
1/2 c smooth fleshed potato (like yukon gold), peeled & cut into 1/2" pieces (one medium potato)

After the stew has simmered with the sweet potato for 1/2 hour stir the stew and break up (kind of mash with a fork) the softened sweet potato. Add the remaining 1/2 c sweet potato and the rest of the diced vegetables. Return the stew to a simmer and continue to simmer until all the vegetables are tender, about 1/2 hour more. Remove the bay leaves and season the stew to taste with additional salt and pepper.

Makes 4 good sized portions at 358 calories a serving.

This takes a total of 2.5 hours to make. The initial prep of the meat including browning takes about 15 minutes, then once that is simmering I cut up all my vegetables, which takes another 15 minutes. The rest of the cooking is essentially hands off... it is really not as labor intensive as it sounds! Also the flavors really intensify overnight so the leftovers are even better! On that note you could also make this ahead and reheat it when you are ready to serve.
I should note this stew gets thicker as it simmers... feel free to keep it on a low simmer until you are ready to serve. If it isn't as thick as you want just mash up the some more of the sweet potato and potato chunks... I prefer this to adding a little cornstarch (which of course you could do, but I don't like the consistency as much that way) You will find your leftovers are very thick, you can thin this out with some leftover beef broth when you are reheating it.


michelline said...

I think this will definitely get a try over here at the Howard household. Sounds yummy.

Mrs. Furious said...

oh it's good... we're about to sit down and eat!
I'll try and post photos later.
Tell Chris sometimes I have used maple syrup (real) instead of the molasses when I haven't had it on hand.. still good. Though the molasses is better.

Chris Howard said...

Yeah, we'll try this one out soon. Right now we're eating a simple pot roast that I cooked in the crockpot on Friday. It was a chuck roast, some red potatoes, baby carrots, onions and an envelope of beef stew seasoning. It turned out well, even though the stuff was cooking for about 14 hours.

Mrs. Furious said...

well let me know how it turns out for you.

I don't ever use my crockpot... but I would like to since with swimming class at night getting dinner ready has been a pain. Did you just dump everything in at once? Did you have to brown the roast first?

Mrs. Furious said...

oh also.. once I'm done with the stew sometimes I top it with Bisquick dumplings... I don't know if that is unheard of to you Southerners or what.

Chris Howard said...

Did you just dump everything in at once? Did you have to brown the roast first?

Nope, just dump everything in and set the temp to low. I always start it before I leave for work and it's done by the time we get home. I'm not sure what the minimum cook time would be on low.

Mr Furious said...


I got my hand slapped (figuratively) for eating before Mrs F sat down.

Whaddaya want? You put this plate in front of me, and then expect me to wait for your photo shoot?

Heather said...

The crock pot rules. Here's my favorite recipe: Trader Joe's flank steak. 1 jar of TJ's double roasted salsa. Open meat. Put in crockpot. Open salsa. Dump over meat. Cover. Cook for 7-8 hours. It rocks.

The stew looks kickass. But what's stew meat?

Mrs. Furious said...

sweet jesus that is easy... I'm doing it!

But what's stew meat?
well I was slightly afriad this might happen... I buy it that why from the meat counter (all our grocery stores sell it, but hey we're in the midwest)... it is just cut up steak of some kind (but I don't know what kind)

SeaBird said...

Yum - this sounds tasty! Have you ever tried it with a slow cooker?

Mrs. Furious said...

Hi Seabird,

No I haven't... only because I don't really use mine.... mostly because I'm home all day anyway. I don't see why not though. I would still sear the meat first and then I would just give it a good stir at the end of the cooking to break the sweet potatoes up and thicken the gravy. If you try it out come back and let me know how it worked so I can update the recipe.

wootini said...

THIS IS FANTASTIC - double it, nay, triple it when, not if, you make it. I'll bet it freezes really well, not that I would know as I've now eaten it for dinner, lunch and dinner again.

Oh and for anyone who is wondering, I made it partly on the stovetop and partly in the crockpot. It turned out fine, but definitely sear the meat first if you're going the crockpot route.

I got through the step with the first round of sweet potatoes, but was having trouble getting the meat to tenderize (maybe I had bum stew meat), plus an impending evening swim practice, so I threw the contents of the stew pot and the final round of veggies into the crock pot, cooked on low for about 3 hours. Starting in the crock pot from the beginning, I'd guess about 5-6 hours on low. I'll try it that way next time and let you know.

Thank you!!!!


Mrs Furious said...

Glad you liked it. I did freeze it just the other week. It froze great. Go for it!

wootini said...

I just love this stew... thank you again for the recipe!!!

FWIW for those reading thru the comments, making it entirely in the crock pot isn't the best, now that I've tried it. It makes the sweet potatoes have a funny texture.


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