Before I let you in on my beef stew recipe, I want to talk about my relationship with fall. It is decidedly love/hate, in that order. When fall first breaks the oppressiveness that is Connecticut in early September, everyone rejoices. The cool air, the golden sunsets, pumpkin flavored everything, you get the idea. When its time for football games, soup counts as a meal and the days are still fairly long, I really love fall. I love everything about mid-September to late October. But then... November. Windy, rainy, dark November, with it's short days, barren landscape and stupid Thanksgiving. Oh yeah, I said it... I don't like Thanksgiving and I don't care who knows! So that, my friends, is the part of fall that I really hate. Luckily December rolls around, with all its Christmas Cheer and hot cocoa and my universe is restored...
Anyway. Beef Stew.
Growing up, I really hated beef stew. Kids are weird like that... hating things that are delicious. Fortunately, I grew out of that somewhere around 23, and have been in love with stew ever since. This recipe is pretty much a combination of all the best ideas my family ever had (relative to cooking... baking is the Hummers' real area of genius). So then... here's what you need:
1.5 lb stewing beef... more can't hurt.
32 oz beef broth
about 20 oz chicken broth
1 can tomato soup (don't add water)
2 individual packets of instant potatoes
potatoes (about 3 medium)
salt and pepper
oregano or whatever spices you like
1. So then, brown the beef while you cut and peel stuff. As a general rule of thumb I try to buy potatoes that aren't too lumpy because I really despise peeling them.
2. Once the beef is browned, throw it into a pot with the potatoes... make sure all of the fat and brown bits from the frying pan make it into the big pot... that's the good stuff. Add the broths and the tomato soup to the pot, and simmer.
3. Sweat the celery and carrots.
4. You can toss the carrots and celery into the big pot, and then fry up the onions you chopped.
5. At this point, if you are already hungry (I usually am) have a slice of American Cheese, or maybe some sour patch kids... whatever you have on hand basically, because this thing needs to stew for a while before it's ready to eat.
6. Add the garlic to the onions and get it a little hot.
7. Throw the onions and garlic into the big pot.
8. You should add the potato packets now, 1 at a time. These make the stew nice and thick.
9. Also toss in the spices, salt and pepper, etc. I tend to go wild on the pepper, but that is because Dan and I really like the hot stuff.
10. Wait.... wait for an eternity because that is what it will feel like. But, you don't really want to have crunchy potatoes in your stew, so you have to just keep waiting.
11. Make sure when you spoon yourself a bowlful that you don't actually eat the bay leaf. Not tasty.
12. Put it in the crock pot and eat it again tomorrow night.
13. Enjoy fall while we're still in the good part of it.
I'll be back with some other fall stuff later on this week!