Monday, September 27, 2010

Simple Beef and Potato Stew

As the nights grow cooler, I find myself craving soups and stews more and more. Served with warm bread this stew makes a satisfying and comforting meal. It requires very little work and hands on time, so it's perfect to throw together on a busy night. 


Tips:
  • The addition of vinegar in this stew isn't to add flavor so much as to tenderize the beef. When cooking with tougher cuts, like stew meat, a small amount of vinegar helps in tenderizing.
  • In this recipe 1/8 teaspoon of the spices, is basically a pinch.  I add just a pinch of each of the spices in my hand and throw them in together. If you have a favorite spice blend, you can add 1-2 teaspoons of that instead.
  • Carrots, garlic, bell peppers or celery would all make excellent additions to this stew. Add the vegetables your family enjoys. For every additional 2 cups of veggies, add 1 can or about 1 1/3 cups of broth or tomato soup (water can be added but you may need to adjust the spices a little).
  • Like with most soups and stews,the longer you let the flavors meld, the better it tastes.  That's why dishes that are heavy with sauces or liquids, often taste better the next day. Don't be afraid to let it simmer for several hours, stirring occasionally.

Simple Beef and Potato Stew

1 1/2 lbs lean stew beef
1/2 white onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2-14 oz cans  beef broth
1-10oz can tomato soup
3 medium potatoes, cubed
1/8 teaspoon basil
1/8 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon thyme
1/8 teaspoon sage
1/8 teaspoon parsley
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
salt to taste

In a soup pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat and add stew meat and onions. Saute until the beef has browned and onions are tender. Drain if necessary.  Add vinegar and toss with meat. Pour in beef broth and tomato soup, stirring to combine. Add cubed potatoes and spices. Bring to a gentle boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until potatoes are thoroughly cooked and flavors have blended.

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