Thursday, March 19, 2009

Beef Stew Deconstructed

We love a good beef stew at our house. Well, all of us except the one who shall remain nameless who won't eat beef or pork. I don't know how she ever ended up in this carnivore, steak loving family. Anyway, we love the stews made on top of the stove, in the oven, in the crockpot. The ones with beef, pork, or lamb. The ones with potatoes and whatever else veggie our hearts desire. But our absolute favorite way have having beef stew is deconstructed. What is deconstruction? Well, very simplified, it's just a fancy schmancy way of saying that you take the parts that make the whole of a dish and make them individual rather than melding them all together. This is so easy and so yummy. I serve this in the center of a mound of mashed or whipped pototoes volcano style and whichever veggie is your favorites in 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!


ellen b. said...

Oh that looks so darn good!!

Michelle said...

YUM!! Thanks Susanne for a tasty recipe for next week.Here in the "Artic Freeze"!!!! ha.

GiBee said...

Looks so warm and delicious!!!

Karen said...

I am so trying this. I made stew last week and it was okay, but not thrilling. I have extra meat in the freezer.

Islandsparrow said...

We just put $200 worth of beef in our freezer and we love stew. My mom taught me to make it just like you do. But I never heard of that flour trick. what a lovely brown colour! I guess it would work for any kind of gravy, wouldn't it? I am going to try it next time. Thanks Suzanne!

Faith said...

my mouth is watering!! looks like comfort food to me!!

skoots1mom said...

i'm comin' over...a woman after my own heart! Yum to the OH!
My poor DH can't do beef stew anymore due to an allergic reaction he has on any beef that is not sad.
I can smell your dish in my head!