I’m in the middle of writing something else, but I was called upon to write up the recipe, such as it is, for the beef stew I made yesterday. I rather surprised myself with it, to be honest. I was just winging it. It was kinda shocking that it came out as good as it did. I figured I’d end up with “basically edible.”
Note: I do this in a 7 quart crock pot. If you try to do this in a 4qt, you deserve what you get.
- 4 medium-sized onions.
- Large container of sliced white mushrooms. (Not exactly sure what the volume is on these.)
- 7 pounds of chuck: I probably could’ve gone with something leaner. But fat is flavor after all and I didn’t want to back-load it with something.
- A couple big idaho taters.
- Small bag of baby carrots (I just didn’t wanna clean ’em.)
- 3 cans of beef broth (concentrate)
- 1 can of cream of mushroom soup (probably superfluous)
- Celery Flakes 3-4 tablespoons. (fresh would certainly have been better. But I wasn’t thinking about it when I went to the stupidmarket.)
- Worcestershire sauce: 3-4 tablespoons. (Probably could’ve used more. I’m not sure if I can even taste it. Seemed like it oughta go.)
- Dried rosemary: Maybe 2 tablespoons.
- onion powder: I really like onion. So I put a crapton of this in there.
- Black pepper: Eh. Lots. It’s “to taste” so..whatever that means. For me it was probably 3-4 tablespoons (sensing a trend here.)
- Just…so much fucking salt.
Now there’s NO reason you can’t just dump this all in the crock pot, turn it on low and go to bed. That’ll work just fine I’m sure. But here’s what I actually did:
Slice the onions; don’t have to get them all the way down to minced but you can if you want to. I generally prefer that, but just couldn’t be arsed. I laid the onions down in the bottom of the crock pot first, figuring that I’d stop the possibility of the beef burning if there was any.
Cube up the chuck. I really dislike globs of fat floating around in my stew. So I cut out the big seams of fat running down the middle of these cuts. I ended up with 3/4″ cubes or so. I wasn’t real precise about any of this. Surprisingly the fat rendered down pretty completely.
Dump the mushrooms in, quite unceremoniously.
Now for the cans of stuff. (I probably should have put the first-cut of spices in the middle someplace to stop them from just floating on top. But in the end I’m not sure it makes THAT much of a difference after 12-14 hours in the damned thing.)
I just dumped the spices in almost at the end.
Once that was all in I poured water in until I could see it, about 3/4 of the way up the inside of the pot. DON’T fill it. Proteins do weird things when they’re heated up so if you start with a full crock pot, you’d better have it on a cookie sheet or something because it’s going to overflow. But don’t skimp on the water either because the beef broth is concentrate. Unless you’re in to that sort of thing.
I skinned and cubed up the taters at the end because…I’d forgotten them. Shoot me.
Turn it on low and wait. About 5-6 hours in you’ll get enough flavor meshing that you can start adjusting things to taste. I dropped in a bunch of garlic powder and kept adding spices as I made room with all my taste testing.
I could probably have bothered to drain some of the liquid off and make a gravy with it. But…eh…I didn’t. I may yet. Who knows. It’s all in my new chest freezer in the basement.
I’m gonna put this over egg noodles this weekend and just let my eyes roll back in my head.
What would I do differently:
- More carrots
- Fresh celery
- probably 4 taters.
- more worcestershire. Couldn’t really taste it.