Monday, January 18, 2010

Basic Beef Stew Recipe: Meat and Potatoes Can Be Good Food, Mom

beef stew DSC_0009

One day when I was a little girl watching my mom make dinner, I asked her why we weren't a "meat and potatoes" family. She said, "That's because we're Italian, and we eat good food."

I remember thinking, was meat and potatoes bad food? Would it make you sick? I suddenly felt sorry for all those kids at school whose moms cooked meat and potatoes. I secretly wished I could bring them home for dinner so they could have good food like my mom's eggplant parmigiana, escarole and beans, and macaroni with gravy and meatballs.

Other than the once-a-year New England boiled pot roast with potatoes and carrots, my mom never made meat and potatoes meals, and I don't either. The closest I get to making meat and potatoes is a burger and fries, which suits Jeff just fine since his mother also never made meat and potatoes. 

steak and potatoes DSC_0017

Since I'm a food blogga and since this week is about as wintery as it's going to get in San Diego -- 50's and rain -- I have decided to post some belly-warming one-pot meals. Everyone should have a basic beef stew recipe because it's easy, inexpensive, and satisfying. It also tastes great with beer and sports, so the men in your life will love you for making it. Rich red wine and beef broth along with earthy thyme add depth of flavor to this simple beef stew that is chock-full of firm carrots and potatoes.

I guess I didn't need to feel sorry for those meat and potatoes kids at school after all.

Basic Beef Stew
Serves 6-8
Print recipe only here.

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds top round or chuck steak, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup all-purpose flour, seasoned with a little salt and pepper
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 1/2 cups red wine
3 cups beef broth
1 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
salt and black pepper, to taste

1. In a large, deep pot, heat olive oil. Dredge meat in seasoned flour. Place in hot oil until browned, about 5 minutes (don’t overcrowd meat or it’ll steam). Transfer browned meat to a bowl. In same pot, add chopped onion and brown for 3-5 minutes. Deglaze the pot with the wine. (Pour wine in the hot pot and use a wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pot.) Add meat back to the pot. Cover the pot, and cook on low for 25-30 minutes. Add broth, potatoes, and carrots. Cook covered, on low heat until meat is very tender, about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add more broth if necessary. When meat is cooked, stir in herbs, salt, and pepper. Add fresh parsley before serving.

You might also like these one-pot meals from Food Blogga:
Italian Chicken and Escarole Soup
Turkey Pot Pie with Mashed Sweet Potato Topping
Fast and Easy Herbed Chicken and Cauliflower
Healthy Chipotle Chicken Chili with Crispy Spiced Tortillas

You might also like these one-pot meals: 
Lamb Tagine recipe at David Lebovitz
Beef Tagine recipe at Real Epicurean
Chicken Stew with Sherry recipe at Thyme for Cooking
Paprika Pork Stew with Sour Cream recipe at The Naptime Chef
One Pot Chicken with Beans and Vegetables recipe at Kitchen Parade