If your having a lazy day, and want some true comfort food, than this is the recipe for you. I have made beef stew many, many ways, but this is by far, the easiest to make. My husbands grandmother used to make it this way. You start with a good, heavy, oven proof dutch oven. Everything goes into the pot. No searing the meat, or sauteing vegetables. Easy peasy.
As with a lot of my recipes, there’s really no set amounts to measure. If you like a lot of meat, put more meat. Same goes for potatoes, or carrots, etc. Just keep in mind that the pot fills up fast, and you may have to go to a bigger pot (yes, I know, it does sound like I’ve made this same mistake many times). It’s a good thing the hubby loves beef stew, is all I can say!
The type beef stew meat you use is entirely up to you. I prefer the chuck with more fat, as it comes out a lot more tender than the leaner. I have also added just a little freshly chopped green cabbage. It adds a wonderful flavor. Also yellow turnip is great in this as well. As with a lot of recipes I make, I feel herbs and seasoning, are the “make or break it” part of any recipe. Without them, your recipe comes out flat, dull and uninteresting, no matter what ingredients you use. For this recipe I really don’t measure, I just shake some in, and it’s usually fine. Some of the herbs I use a lot of are, dried vegetables and celery flakes. Dried vegetables are primarily bell peppers, carrots, onion, tomato, spinach and celery that are dried, and come in a shaker bottle. I buy them in a good sized bottle, as I use them in most soups and stews I make. Celery flakes are primarily the leaves of the celery, dried. I love celery flavor and use a lot of fresh celery, celery seed and celery flakes in the soups and stews I make.
The quick cooking tapioca thickens the stew. If you like the stew thinner, don’t put as much. For thicker stews, you can add more during cooking, and gauge as you go.
Oven Beef Stew
1-1/2 lbs to 2 lbs chuck beef stew meat, cut in to bite sized pieces
4-5 large carrots, peeled and cut in to chunks
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
3-4 celery stalks, sliced (I use celery hearts)
4-5 large potatoes, peeled and cut in to chunks (I used red)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 – 14 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes, with juice (or I used stewed tomatoes)
1/4 c. (more or less) fresh parsley, chopped (or much less if using dried)
salt & pepper
celery flakes, dried
2 bay leaves
several cans low sodium beef stock
1 can low sodium chicken stock
1/4 c. or so quick cooking tapioca (not the pearl type, the very fine type you make pudding with)
Preheat oven to 375° F.
In the large, oven proof stockpot, add the beef stew meat, all the veggies, the herbs, tomatoes, chicken stock and beef stock to just cover vegetables and meat. Sprinkle some tapioca in (better to use tapioca sparingly at first; you can always add more when checking on stew during the cooking process).
Stir everything together, put the lid on, and put in the oven (if your lid does not seal very good, put a piece of foil on the pot and then the cover). Cook for about an hour then turn oven down to 325° F to 350° F. Cook until all vegetables and meat are tender. About 3-4 hours.
It is quite amazing how everything blends together in this recipe. Put it in the oven and forget it. It is truly the essence of comfort food.