The Frugal Café | Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup"</a> | Creative Commons License, Flickr.com
Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup" | Creative Commons License, Flickr.com

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Hearty and Cheap: Old-Fashioned Beef Stew Recipe

By Vicki McClure Davidson

 

This is a stick-to-your-ribs, fairly flexible recipe for making a huge batch of old-fashioned beef stew. It is chockful of vegetables, which you can choose to include or omit.

Like I said, this recipe is flexible. You can follow the recipe provided here exactly... OR, you could also include several diced tomatoes towards the end of the cooking cycle or a handful of soy beans. You can also scour through your fridge crisper bins and toss in any limp veggies that are past their prime. To make it go further without making it significantly more costly, increase the number of sliced potatoes. If you do increase the number of potatoes in it, increase the amount of liquid a bit.

In the recipe below, it's suggested that you can buy beef chuck already cut into cubes. Check the price difference between non-cut and pre-cut products — pre-cut beef cubes will always cost more per pound, which ups the cost. However, if the price difference isn't too much, this can save you a bit of preparation time.

Any hot, delectable beef stew is a proven crowd and kid pleaser, especially when the cold wind is whipping up like crazy outside. And best of all, it's a complete meal and, per serving, is incredibly frugal.

Your thrift-minded grandma would approve.

 

Old-Fashioned Beef Stew Recipe

 

The recipe for this hearty beef stew is from TipsNet:

Are you tired of the same old meals all the time? Do you miss the old fashioned stew that you had as a child? This recipe is just like Grandma's beef stew that you grew up with. The aroma and flavor from this stew is unbelievable.

In less than two hours you can have a wonderful stew that is packed with protein and iron. Pull together the following ingredients for this recipe:

  • 1 lb. beef chuck
  • 1/4 c. of flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • Pinch of paprika
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions (about 3 cups)
  • 2 c. sliced mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced, of course
  • 2 tsp. tomato paste
  • 2 c. beef broth
  • 4 c. sliced carrots
  • 2 medium russet potatoes (about 2 cups worth)
  • 1 c. cut green beans
  • 1 T. cornstarch
  • 1 T. cold water

 

Now, let's start putting it all together.

Cut the beef chuck into one-inch cubes. You might be able to find it already cubed up at the grocery store. Place the flour into a paper sack or a plastic bag with the salt, pepper and paprika. Then place the beef cubes into the sack and shake it up well. This coats the beef cubes with the dry mixture.

Pour the oil into a large pot on the stove. Heat the oil on medium high, and then place the beef cubes into the oil and saute them until they are browned. (Once the oil is hot, this should take only about five to seven minutes.) Remove the browned beef from the pot and place it into a bowl. Set the bowl to the side; you're going to use them again shortly.

Cut up the onions and the mushrooms. Place them into the pot (which should still contain hot oil) and saute them also for about six minutes. Now add the minced garlic. Saute the garlic with the mushrooms and the onions for only about one minute, stirring constantly. Be careful that you don't cook the garlic at too high of a temperature or for too long. Garlic is easy to burn if cooked too long or at a temperature that is too high.

Drain the oil out of the pot. Add the sauteed beef that you placed aside earlier into the pot. Stir into the mixture your tomato paste and beef broth. Add enough water to just cover the beef and then bring the mixture to a boil. After it has come to a full boil, reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer it until the meat becomes tender. This should take about an hour and fifteen minutes or so.

While your stew is simmering, peel and slice the potatoes and the carrots. If you finish peeling and slicing them before the meat is tender, place the potatoes and carrots into a bowl of cold water with a pinch of salt. This will keep the potatoes from turning brown. Set them aside until the beef is fully tender.

When the meat is ready to add the potatoes and carrots, slice the green beans. Add the potatoes, carrots, and green beans into the pot. You may need to add a little more water to keep all the food partially covered. Simmer the stew for about fifteen minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

This recipe will serve approximately 6 servings. Serve it with biscuits, rolls, or corn bread and you'll have a great meal.

 

 

 

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Sources:
The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook: Featuring More Than 1,200 Kitchen-Tested Recipes, America's Test Kitchen, 2005.
Child, Julia, Bertholle, Louisette, and Beck, Simone, Mastering The Art of French Cooking, Volume One (40th Anniversary Edition), Alfred A. Knopf, NY, 2001.
Larsen, Linda, Busy Cooks website, "How to Cook Beef," http://busycooks.about.com/od/howtocook/a/howtocookbeef.htm).
Happy Eats website, "Should You Salt Meat Before Cooking? Yes!" (www.happyeats.com/index.php/archives/2005/07/27/should-you-salt-meat-before-cooking-yes/), July 27, 2005.
Smith, Jeff, The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American, William Morrow and Company, Inc., NY, 1987.