At the request of a friend, I'm sharing my recipe for beef stew. She said she loved beef stew, but just couldn't get the gravy right and the flavor seemed dull. This is the recipe I've used for more than ten years and our family loves it.
Some of the steps can seem confusing if you're not watching someone make it, so I'm posting more pictures than I normally would. If you have any questions, please let me know. I'd be happy to clarify! :)
2-3lb round roast, fat trimmed, cut in cubes
1½ c flour
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp Lawry's Seasoned Salt
1 tsp garlic pepper
½ c vegetable oil
½ c beef soup base (I use L.B. Jamison)
2 qt cold water
½ tsp thyme
½ tsp celery seed
1 tsp garlic pepper
1 tsp minced garlic
2 T parsley flakes
1 onion, diced
1-14.5oz can diced tomatoes
3T Kitchen Bouquet (optional for coloring & flavor)
1-16oz bag frozen carrots
1-16oz bag frozen corn
6-8 red potatoes, peeled & cubed (Red potatoes hold up better in the stew without falling apart like russet or other types of potatoes)
(**The soup base will have plenty of sodium in it, so you should be careful if you choose to add more salt to the recipe. If you do decide to add it, I would do it sparingly and only when serving.)
You'll want to trim the excess fat off the roast and then cube the meat into big chunks. Anything smaller than a 1" cube will fall apart in the stewing process.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour & spices listed above in the first section of ingredients.
Toss the cubed meat in the flour mixture until well coated, while heating up the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When a pinch of flour sizzles in the oil, you'll know it's hot enough.
Add the meat to the oil. Don't bother shaking off the excess flour. That's what's going to make the gravy thick later as it's cooking. The oil won't cover all the meat, but once you stir it, it'll be fine. You'll want to brown the meat, not cook it thoroughly over a medium-high heat. Some of the meat will still be pink when you add the water. Make sure the water is cold. It'll mix better with the roux to make a good gravy. Mix it thoroughly, then add the spices. Kitchen Bouquet, onion & tomatoes.
Bring to a low boil, then turn to medium-low heat and let simmer for an hour. Stir several times so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot. After an hour or so, add the rest of the ingredients and turn the heat up to medium-high so it'll come to a boil again. (The frozen ingredients will bring the temp down too far to keep it at low). Once it boils, turn the heat back down to a medium-low again and cook until potatoes are tender, 60-90 minutes. It can be served at this point, but it can be turned down to low and left to simmer for another hour or two.