This time of year, the magazine racks in checkout lanes at retail and grocery stores are packed with magazines and special editions of "comfort foods your family will love." And each publication throws headlines, pictures, and recipes you've seen and read a dozen times before. Honestly, they just recycle the same ol' things each year - they only update the advertisements. If you've read one of those magazines, you've read them all.
Don't waste the cash.
Two reasons why: 1) you can find all those recipes on the internet; and 2) you probably know how to make them anyway. But even if you don't, chances are good that if you've have any cooking experience under your belt, then you can figure it out.
That's what I did.
There was a time when even though I enjoyed cooking, my fear of screwing up drove me to buy things like the instant packaged stews to guarantee all went as planned. You know the kind, add a bunch of water, some meat, and dump the dried contents in a slow cooker. Wait four hours then serve.
This time I wanted to do it the right way, So with about one minute of thought I wrote down the ingredients and figured out the directions from there. By the end of the day, I had a completely homemade beef stew, and like the chili I made a week or so ago, I plan to continue to modify this recipe so that with each iteration I make it better than the previous time.
Now, with all that being said, let me present to you a simple, basic beef stew. One that you can modify and adapt to your own preferences.
----- Basic Beef Stew -----
1-1/2 lbs of stew meat
1 large white onion, chopped
1-1/2 cups carrots, chopped
1-1/2 cups celery, chopped
3 medium cloves of garlic, minced
6 medium sized potatoes, cubed
4 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons salt (or to taste)
Turn your slow cooker on high
Dump in all the ingredients
Stir thoroughly until all ingredients are evenly distributed
Put the lid on.
Occasionally stir to make sure it all cooks evenly, but resist the temptation to constantly check it. Each time you check it, heat escapes, which will increase cooking time.
Once the beef and potatoes are cooked thoroughly, it's ready to serve (approximately four hours).
This particular recipe makes enough for The Boss and me to eat multiple bowls per day for a couple of days, and like any good slow cooker stew or chili, the longer it sits, the more the flavor gets absorbed into the ingredients. In no time, your belly will be full, your eyes will droop with drowsiness, and you'll be all ready for the oncoming cold season.
Until Next Time...
Here's a video from Laura In The Kitchen that I wish I would have watched first. She has a couple of extra ideas I could have incorporated, and definitely will next time.