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.