As winter continues to drag on around the country, so does our need for a warm fire, a fleece robe and slippers and your favorite comfort foods like this delicious stew. Who doesn’t love stew? It’s like a cozy blanket wrapped around your insides warming and nourishing. Sounds pretty nostalgic . . . except I was raised in Southern California and didn’t come to appreciate stew until I moved to snowy Utah for college over 40 years ago. Growing up I think my mother made it a few times when temperatures “dipped” into the 50’s at night. So much for freezing in the winter; that’s how we rolled in the Southland.
This recipe brings together everything you’d expect in a good stew, made simple just the way it might have been done in the old pioneer days. Simplicity is the operative word, here. No need to peel the veggies; use all of the vegetable, without waste. Cut up carrots, celery, potatoes, onions and mushrooms simmer together for a couple of hours with bacon and beef in a rich gravy sauce of beef broth, tomato paste, garlic, oregano, thyme, rosemary and bay leaves. So, so good.
You’ll cook your stew in a good soup pot or you can do it all in the slow cooker and let time do the magic for you. Just brown the meat before adding to the slow cooker. Either way produces one of the best stews I’ve had, ever. And now that I’m a cold weather country veteran, I’m entitled to appreciate the nostalgic value of a good stew. Here’s to winter and more cozy blankets.
One Year Ago: Souper Bowl Round-Up 2015
- Farmhouse Beef and Bacon Stew
- 4-5 slices of bacon, cut in small pieces
- 3 pounds sirloin beef, cubed
- 1/2 cup flour, for dredging meat
- 1 small onion, sliced in wedges
- 1/2 pound washed and unpeeled carrots, sliced diagonally
- 3 ribs washed and untrimmed celery, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 5 cups beef broth, divided
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 pound whole mushrooms, quartered
- 1 pound washed and unpeeled potatoes, cubed into 2-inch pieces
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp rosemary
- 1 tsp thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Add bacon to a large soup pot and place over medium high heat. Cook and stir until crisp then remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with a paper towel and let drain; set aside.
- Dredge cubed beef in flour so that all sides of the meat are covered. Sear the meat in the bacon fat on all sides. Meat does not to cook all the way; that will be done later. When browned remove to another plate; set aside.
- In the same pot, add onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Saute until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of the beef broth and deglaze pan by bringing to a high boil then using a metal spatula, scrape all of the bits on the bottom. Add tomato paste and stir through.
- Add mushrooms, potato, oregano, rosemary, thyme and bay leaves along with the reserved bacon and beef and remaining 4 cups of beef broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally until meat is tender. When ready to serve, remove bay leaves and season with salt and pepper as desired.
For Slow Cooker: Follow steps 1 and 2 as directed. Then add bacon and beef along with all other ingredients in container of slow cooker, cutting beef broth to 3 cups. Cover and cook on LOW for 4-6 hours or until beef is tender, adding broth as needed to achieve desired consistency. To serve, remove bay leaves and season with salt and pepper as desired.
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