SUSANNE'S DECONSTRUCTED BEEF STEW
-1 kg (2 lbs.) stew meat, cut into 1 1/2 " cubes
-2 Tbsp. oil
-1 1/2 onions, chopped
-2 cups water
-1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
-1 large clove garlic, minced
-2 tsp. salt
-1 tsp. sugar
-1/2 tsp. paprika
-1/4 tsp. pepper
-1/4 cup flour
-1/2 - 3/4 cup hot water
Heat oil in a large saute pan or dutch oven. Add the chopped onion. When the onion start to sweat a bit (starts to get a little transluscent) add the meat.
Turn your heat to almost high at this point so that the meat can start to sear. When the meat juices have started to flow and bubble (pictured below),
add the 2 cups of water. You don't want to meat juices to start to diminish as this is what will add tons of flavor so watch this part just before adding the water carefully. Add the next 6 ingrediants and bring to a gentle boil. Cover, turn heat to low and let simmer 2 hours. Peak every once in a while to make sure the liquid level is staying the same.
Now I'm going to give you a secret that my Mom passed to me to make awesome gravy. Never again will you have pale, tasteless gravy if you make it like this. Put the flour into a small frypan or small pot, turn it on medium heat and stay glued to the floor in front of the pot. Stir every once in a while. You are looking for the flour to start turning a nice golden caramel color. It will take a few minutes and it will turn all of a sudden. Watch carefully, stirring especially once you notice it changing color. You will start to smell the flour cooking. See how it's starting to get golden underneath right where the spoon path is?
Just before it's the caramel color, remove it from the heat. It will continue to turn color from the hot pan. This is the color you are looking for.
Now whisk in 1/2 cup of hot water. Secret number 2. If you don't want lumpy gravy, always add cold water to cold flour or hot water to hot flour. And whisk quickly. Just look at this gorgeous color.
And no, this roux does not have one drop of beef in it yet. Just imagine the nice color and flavor this is adding to your gravy.
Now stir this in slowly to your stewing meat. Let it simmer for a good couple of minutes. At this point I like to add lots of fresh cracked pepper. But it's your call. Taste for saltiness, too.
Now don't forget to put a nice big hole with the back of your spoon into your mound of potatoes. You'll want to get as much stew into there as possible! Trust me!