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Aunt Francis' Beef Stew Print E-mail
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Our theme this month is easy, inexpensive meals that use the same three key ingredients: carrots, celery and onions.

Stewing make even tough cuts of meat tender. We paid $4.25 for already cubed stew meat at an ethnic grocery store.

The trick to a good beef stew is browning the meat and Mr. Hill did a great job. Because browning the meat is done over high heat, it has a tendency to splash so adult help is really important.

{Makes 6 - 8 bowls of stew}

You'll need:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds of lean stew beef - cubed
  • 2 15-ounce cans of beef broth
  • 2 large carrots - chunked
  • 1 stalk of celery - chunked
  • 1 onion - chunked
  • 6-8 small red potatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup of frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons of corn starch
  • 3 tablespoons of water
  • Adult help

Equipment:

  • A large deep pot with a lid
  • A silicon spatula
  • Tongs
  • A wooden spoon
  • A large spoon
  1. Start by heating the oil for about a minute until it has a haze.
  2. Have Dad or whomever is helping you quickly add the beef. It will spatter so put the lid on until it settles down.
  3. When the sputtering slows, Dad should move the pieces of the beef around so that they are evenly distributed. Use the pot lid to control the splatter. It's safer and keeps the stove clean too.
  4. Adult task: turn the meat so that it will be evenly browned on all sides. However, you don't want to turn it too much. The meat needs the contact with the heat so that the natural sugars in the meat caramelize. You also want the juices to brown on the bottom of the pan. That's what give the stew the rich brown color.
  5. Adult task: When the meat is browned add the beef stock. Be careful because the liquid hitting the hot pan will sputter again.
  6. Child task: Add the carrots, celery, and onions. Stir.
  7. Bring the stew to a boil then turn the heat down and simmer uncovered for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  8. Mix the cornstarch and water together until it is smooth.
  9. Here's where team work counts. The adult pushes the meat and veggies off to one side of the pot so a little pool of liquid is formed. The child drizzles the cornstarch mixture into that pool as the adult stirs the liquid. When the cornstarch is totally mixed in and you don't see any white anymore--just rich brown sauce--the adult can stir the whole pot. Keep turning so the thickened sauce coats everything.
  10. Add the peas, cook a few minutes until the peas are heated through and serve.