|FTLComm - Tisdale - January 27, 2001
|What can be complicated about making a beef stew, you buy some stew meat, cut up
some vegetables, add a bullion cube or two and throw it in the oven. A stew is an
inexpensive meal and people get what they get. Well that is how I usually do it
but my wife makes a stew with dumplings and she uses tomatoes and gives her stew
a nice tomato flavour. Others have their own way of making stew but what if you
are putting your first one together, how much flour will give your sauce the right
colour and consistency, and what can you do to make it look and taste great every
|To solve these problems this stew is one your guests will not only smile about but
elevates stew a good deal above the ordinary cheap-what-ever's-in-the-fridge meal.
The goal is to make it simple, get a super sauce and hit the nutritional mark with
a all-in-one oven cooked dish.
|The main ingredient of any stew is the meat and stew meat is traditionally ends and
bits that result from the butcher's work as they make other cuts. It usually is
less tender and has more fat than most of our diets need. Most food stores take their
fresh meat and that which does not sell is frozen and offered at a reduced price.
Look for this bargain and you will find the number one ingredient to make Beef
Stew Supreme. I was able to find a nice package of round steak, nicely marbled
and half the price of fresh steak, actually the same price as fresh stew meat.
|Now lets consider the sauce, a great beefy flavoured sauce is essential for a beef
stew and to get the right consistency is hard, a little to much fluid and the meal
just doesn't look or serve right and over cooked the stew is dry and sticky. So
there is a need to get things right and the simplest way to do that is cheat. From
the bulk area of your food store buy just over a cup of beef gravy, problem nearly
|- A large roaster
- share knife
- measuring cup
- fry pan
- vegetable peeler
- cutting board
- mixing bowl
|- 2 hand sized round steaks about 3/4 inch thick
- 1 cup and 1/4 of bulk beef gravy
- 2 cups no-name biscuit mix
- eight medium size potatoes
- eight carrots
- three medium onions
- cup and half of frozen peas
|- two cups of milk
- twenty fresh mushrooms
- half a rutabaga (turnip)
- half cup of flour
- worchestershire sauce
|Assembling Beef Stew Supreme:
The measurements and quantities depend on the size of your roaster and need not be
Cube the steak into appropriate sizes, I prefer a smaller size than most stew meat
is cut but like it just a bit bigger than a one inch cube. In a fry pan add some
canola oil and brown the steak, do not cook completely, just brown it, if you have
to high a temperature cool it down with the beef in the pan by adding a little water.
Once browned, put the steak in the bottom of your roaster. To decide about the
right amount of beef or vegetables, there needs to be an even covering of the roaster.
Make sure that all of the juices from the steak, or added water, is poured into
Now cube your rutabaga into one inch cubes and spread the pieces evening over the
Next peel and cut up your potatoes, do not cut them up to small as you want the final
product to still have definable material. In a good stew the various vegetables
should look different from one another and by making the potato pieces slightly larger
than the turnip pieces makes them clearly different. Once again the right amount
of potato is established by having almost a solid layer of potato in the roaster.
Scrape your carrots with a vegetable peeler and cut them up any way you want. Some
folks like carrots in a stew in three inch slender sticks and other people like them
as round slices. Personally I like both so I cut them up in a variety of ways.
I decide when I have enough carrots by seeing the amount of carrot evening spread
out in the roaster on top of the potatoes. You do not want to put to much carrot
in a stew as they have a strong flavour and cooking them seems to bring that flavour
out so my stew has about six good sized carrots.
Peel and slice up your onions. This is one vegetable that you can not have to much
of, in a stew it adds flavour and is an outstanding nutritional contribution to the
I like about two big handfuls of fresh mushrooms in my stew and I wash them and cut
them up distributing them evenly over the other contents of the filling roaster.
The peas are needed in the stew to give some contrasting colour but cut green beans
would do the same. About a cup and a half seems to be the right amount, actually
At this point your stew should be about an inch and a half from the top of the roaster,
if it is higher than that you may have a problem.
Mix the bulk beef gravy with water, I like to do this in a warming fry pan but it
can be done cold just as easily and pour the mixture evenly over the stew.
This is when you add the pepper, as with other ingredients you can grind fresh pepper
over the stew from end to end or just sprinkle black pepper from a shaker, but do
so evenly so that you have about the same amount over the whole surface. Follow
this by sprinkling in some worchestershire sauce. Little is better than a lot as
you want to bring out the beef flavour not have a worchestershire sauce stew. Add
no salt, the bulk beef gravy tends to be salty and will give your stew all of
the salt that is needed.
Using a flour sifter sprinkle about a cup of flour over the stew, you will have the
right amount of flour when the whole stew is just becoming white. Take a large serving
spoon and from end to end lift the contents from the bottom of the stew to the top,
gently turn the contents vertically to mix things up so that cooking will be even
in the roaster. At this point you are almost done and you now add enough water to
bring the fluid level in the stew just about to the top of the mixture. Do not add
so much fluid that the mixture is covered.
Slip the stew in the oven at about 350º with the roaster top in place and clean
up the kitchen. Your stew will be ready to serve in about an hour and a half but
if you want to delay dinner, no problem it will be fine in two hours.
Fifteen minutes before you want to set this stew on the table, prepare the biscuit
mix. Use a mixing bowl and combine two cups of milk with two cups of biscuit mix.
If you want dumplings reduce the amount of milk or increase the amount of mix.
In this recipe we want to be able to pour the topping so the mixture should be a
fluid. To thin the mixture just add a little water and mix with a spoon. Twelve
minute before serving pour the mixture on the top of the stew covering the entire
top and cook for ten minutes to finish it off add a couple more minutes of cooking
with the oven set to broil and that will give the top a nice golden colour. Watch
this closely because it could easily over cook the top if the roaster is to close
to the top of the oven.
Set the stew on the table and smile. With its top it can sit without cooling for
some time so this makes a great meal if you have any interruptions from the time
you set the food out and folks sit down to dine.
There are two things that can reduce your stew's quality. Over cooking the meat
in the fry pan will make it tough and having to serve the stew before it has had
lots of time to cook. If you rush this one there will be more fluid than you might
want but the flavours should be fine.
|Timothy W. Shire