Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Beef Stew

It's time again for my recipe of the week.  Beef stew has always been a staple in our house.  I started making this not long after Rock and I were married and it has evolved a little (but not much) in the years since.  All of us love it on a cold winter day with some warm rolls and butter. 

It's completely different from what my mom always called beef stew.  Hers used ground beef (that's all we could afford), was not thick at all and included corn and green beans (which I can't stand mixed into anything).  I couldn't figure out why mom's beef stew wasn't anything like the canned stuff.

Anyway, if you've never heard of "Kitchen Bouquet,"  you be glad I told you about it.  :)  Not long after my mom and dad were married (and dad complained all the time that mom's cooking was nothing like his mom's), my mom asked her mother-in-law what the secret was to getting here gravy so nice and dark brown.  She thought grandma would come up with some complicated method or something and was very surprised when grandma reached into the cupboard and pulled out a little bottle labeled "Kitchen Bouquet."  That was grandma's secret- a couple of tablespoons from that little bottle in her gravy.  The rest is history.  Mom's been using it ever since and it's now one of my favorite seasonings.  You can usually find it near the bouillon in the grocery store.

So, enough rambling- here's the recipe:

Korrina's Beef Stew
1 pound stew meat, browned                    2 beef bouillon cubes
4 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks      4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 onion, chopped                                  1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons worchestershire sauce         2 tablespoons Kitchen Bouquet
1 teaspoon curry powder                         2 packages brown gravy mix
salt and pepper to taste

Brown the stew meat in a little oil in a big saucepan.  Peel your carrots, potatoes and onion.  Slice the carrots and mushrooms, chop the onion, and cut the potatoes into chunks.  Put everything in the saucepan and add enough water to make everything just barely start to lift off the bottom of the pan (you know, when the potatoes just start to float).  The mushrooms will shrink and you will have more gravy in there than it looks right now- you can always add more water later.  Turn the heat on and get it all boiling.  When it starts to boil, turn the heat down to low and cover the pot.  Simmer your stew for about 2 hours.  This will get everything nice and tender and blend all of those flavors together.  When it's done you can thicken it a little more by mixing a couple of tablespoons of cornstarch or flour with a half cup or so of cold water.  Turn the heat up and add the mixture to your stew, stirring constantly.  Keep stirring and cooking until it is the thickness you want.  Serve with hot buttered rolls for dipping.

(Sorry, no photo this week...)

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