A Beef Stew Recipe For The Ages
1 1/2 lbs. favorite stew meat (chuck or round or whatever floats your boat)
1 tablespoon sage
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup of flour (rough estimate, I usually just eyeball it straight from the bag)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 yellow onion (as large as you prefer)
1 small can of tomato paste (optional)
2 cups of beef broth (if you get a can, you'll add water later - if you get a larger box, you'll have as much as you need)
1 cup peeled & chopped carrots
3 Russet Burbank potatoes
1 sprig rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 dried bay leaf
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
10 ounces fresh Champignon (white) mushrooms
1 small package frozen peas (as close to ten ounces as you can get)
Prepare Meat and Marinade
Trim excess fat off the meat and cut into cubes. Size them to your preference.
Put the meat in your favorite type of marinade dish, along with soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce and sage. Get the meat and marinade mixed thoroughly and put it in the fridge for at least an hour.
About three hours before you're ready to eat, get out a big-ass skillet. Set it on the stove.
Dredge the beef in flour. Set on a plate.
Set heat under the skillet to medium, pour in a tablespoon of oil.
Saute the beef until brown on all sides (about 10 minutes).
Remove beef, set aside.
While beef is browning, slice up the onion. Rough chunks or slices, the choice is yours.
When the beef is out of the pan, toss in the onions.
Saute for 5 or so minutes, to get the onions soft.
When the onions are tender, pour the contents of the pan into a pot (it is easier to manage the rest with a high-rimmed pot)
Add the tomato paste (or don't, it's a matter of taste - sometimes I leave out the paste, to give the other spices more room to breathe)
After the onions go in the pot, add the beef and about 1 3/4 cups of beef broth.
Reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for an hour and a half.
When the beef seems tender (after an hour or so, you be the judge), start cutting up the carrots and the potatoes. Small chunks.
Toss in the chopped carrots, potatoes, rosemary, thyme, crushed red pepper flakes, and one bay leaf.
Stir, then cover and cook some more, with the pot still on low.
Start to pay attention to the liquid now. If it seems to need more liquid, add a quarter cup or so of beef broth or water. The idea is to have it be wet until you get down to the last half hour or so. This gives the root veggies enough moisture to soften properly.
When the root vegetables seem somewhat soft enough, slice up the mushrooms and add them, along with the frozen peas, to the stew.
Keep the cover off, raise the heat just a touch, and stir and pause, and stir and pause, and stir and pause.
If the potatoes are soft enough, but the stew needs thickening, shake some flour in there, a little at a time, stirring and shaking, until you get a nice consistency.
At your signal, have someone dim the lights and put on some Joe Pass and Herb Ellis, then serve the stew along with some crusty bread.