Similarly, I seem to have forgotten about how cold winter is on the east coast. It got 'cold' in London a few weeks ago and I was craving some hearty soup or stew. I made a fair amount of soup in the winters in Boston but would use my crockpot for stews.
We start by browning stew beef. Most stores sell red meat already cubed for stews but you could also get strip steak and cut it up yourself. It's important to only brown the beef because it will be cooked further with the vegetables and if you've already cooked it during the browning process, the meat will be tough and chewy.
Once the beef is browned, set on a plate and use the same pot to brown onions and garlic. Don't worry if you see the bottom of your pan collected burned bits. The stew will soak those up and add delicious flavors.
Add the water and bouillon or just broth to the pot. I use bouillon cubes here and instant hot water (pro tip). The instant hot water really helped clean the bottom of the pans of all the meat and onion drippings to incorporate into the stew.
To the pot, add your carrots and potatoes along with spices. Allow them a head start in cooking before adding the mushrooms and beef. The mushroom and beef won't need as much cooking time and you don't want to over-cook either.
The whole stew should simmer for 30-45 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Serve hot or reheat for those cold winter nights.
- 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 pounds stew beef (cubed meat)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 cups beef broth or water with bouillon cubes
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Dash of black pepper
- 2 large carrots, roughly sliced
- 1 large potato, peeled and cubed
- 5-6 button mushrooms, sliced
- In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat and brown the pieces of beef on each side. Reduce the heat as needed.
- Place beef on a plate lined with a paper towel.
- In the same pot, brown the minced garlic and diced onion until translucent.
- Pour the broth or water into the pot.
- Add the carrots and potatoes with the paprika, salt and pepper. Cook for 5-10 minutes.
- Add the beef and mushrooms. Lower the heat to a simmer.
- Allow to simmer for 30 minutes (possibly longer) until potatoes and carrots are softened.