Beef Stew


Everyone’s idea of comfort food is different.  In my dictionary, comfort food is food I grew up eating and loving.  It’s food that makes you feel like… you’re home… and everything is going to be alright

Beef stew is one of my comfort foods.  There is something wonderfully comforting about a whole pot of food happily bubbling away on the stove. 

Like many Americans, my family consulted The Joy of Cooking when cooking American dishes.  My mother ultimately Chinese-ized the non-Chinese food we ate, creating a delicious cuisine that defines a special category of comfort food for my father, sisters, and me.  My family and I eat beef stew with rice and it really hits the spot. 

This recipe is a variation of my mom’s.  It will warm your bones, leaving you deeply satisfied on a cold winter’s night.  It’s also pretty economical.  A whole pot cost me about $12 and resulted in 16 servings!  I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does.

Note: while I think it makes complete sense to write recipe ingredients according to chronology, I also like to write recipes so that it makes sense shopping-wise and preparation-wise.  Ultimately, I think it’ll all make sense.

(make as much as you need, whatever type you like)
2 lbs of stewing beef such as chuck, short-rib meat, or bottom round (1"-2" cubed)
4-6 stalks of celery (1/4 cup of 1/4” dice; remainder slice into 1" sections)
4-6 carrots (1/4 cup of 1/4” dice; remainder slice into 1" sections)
4 medium sized waxy potatoes (slice into 1" sections)
small onion (1/2 cup small dice)
garlic (2 Tbsp. minced)

flour (1/2 cup)
dried oregano (1 tsp.)
dried rosemary (1 tsp)
dried thyme (1 tsp)
2 bay leaves

cornstarch or tapioca starch (optional)

(1) Cook the rice.
(2) Rinse and pat beef dry, and put into a bag. Season and dredge with:
1/2 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 tsp each of oregano/rosemary/thyme/salt/pepper
(3) Heat oil, medium-high, in a large stewing pot.  Add the meat in batches until all sides are browned.  Remove with a slotted spoon.  Add more oil as needed.  This process seals in the juices of the meat making it more tender and flavorful.  If a crust from the beef is created at the bottom of the pot, leave it as this will make the stew richer.
(4) Once all the beef is browned and has been put aside, lower heat to medium and add: 
1/4 cup celery
1/4 cup carrots
          1/2 cup onion
2 tbsp garlic
Cook, stirring often, until the onion is softened (about 5 minutes).
(5) Add the beef back into the pot and fill the pot with enough water to just cover the meat.  Also add:
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp each of oregano/rosemary/thyme/salt/pepper
Stir and bring to boil.  Once boiled, reduce the heat, cover and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.
(6) Add the rest of the vegetables:
Add some water to barely cover the food. Cover the pot and simmer for 30 minutes more. 
(7) Once done, taste and adjust any seasonings.  I usually add more salt at the end, maybe some pepper.  If you'd like to thicken the sauce, add cornstarch or tapioca starch to cold water.  In a separate bowl, mix:
1-2 tbsp of starch with equal parts cold water
until thoroughly mixed.  Add to pot while stirring.  Add more cornstarch/water mixture if desired. 

Serve hot over rice.  ^_^

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