Traditional Beef Stew
Traditional Beef Stew has been around for many years. Less desirable pieces of meat like the butt, pieces from the leg, and shoulder are most commonly used when making stews. These fibrous cuts of meat require longer cooking times with a variable amount of liquid- a cooking technique called braising. Braising uses moist and dry heat. Prior to placing in the flavored liquid, the meat is seared to add another layer of flavor.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
4-5 pounds of beef roast meat; Chuck, Chuck Shoulder, Chuck Roast, Chuck-Eye Roast, Top Chuck
Bottom Round Roast, Bottom Eye Roast, Rump Roast, Eye Round Roast, Top Round, Round Tip Roast
English Roast, Pot Roast or Stew Meat will do.
3 tablespoons + ¼ cup vegetable oil
3 cups chopped celery
3 cups chopped carrots
3 cups chopped sweet onions
1 can stewed tomatoes
4 large baking potatoes, cubed
6-7 cups beef broth
1 sprig fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
Salt and pepper to taste
Rub the steak with 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil making sure you coat the entire surface of the meat. Season all sides of the beef liberally with salt and pepper.
Sear the meat in the hot skillet, making sure to brown all sides of the meat. Remove the meat from the skillet and place the meat in a large oven-proof pan or crockpot. Deglaze the skillet with ½ of the beef stock. Place the liquid in the pan or crockpot with the meat.
Add the celery, carrots, onions and tomatoes, fresh thyme, bay leaves, and remaining beef stock to the pot with a small amount of salt and pepper. Make sure that the beef is covered with the liquid. Cover the pot with aluminum foil and place in a 350 degree oven.
After the stew has cooked for 2 hours, remove from the oven and add the potatoes. Cover and place back in the oven for an additional 1.5 hours.
Remove the stew from the oven and let sit covered for 30 minutes.
Uncover the stew and carefully strain all of the liquid from the beef and vegetables. Remove the thyme and bay leaves. At this point you should have two containers; one with the stew meat and veggies, and one with the flavorful braising liquid.
Place ½ cup of butter in a medium sized soup pot over low heat. Once the butter has melted, add the ½ cup of flour and mix with a whisk for 3-5 minutes; season with salt and pepper.
Add the braising liquid to the butter-flour mixture and continue to mix with a whisk until it has thickened and has a creamy texture, approximately 3 minutes. At this point, you should have brown gravy.
Add the meat and veggies to the gravy mixture, and let cook over low heat for 10-15 minutes.
Chef Chuck Kerber