I know, I know – this doesn’t look like a recipe for turkey leftovers and isn’t – *gasp* – holiday related. While I love this time of year as much as the next girl – I got positively GIDDY picking out my Christmas tree yesterday – I want to keep a bit more variety in my diet over the holiday season. That isn’t to say that holiday recipes aren’t right around the corner on this blog – they are! – but I’m starting December off with something a bit more out of the box.
My boyfriend has been clamoring for “less turkey, more beef” as of late, and I was more than happy to oblige with this hearty, delicious beef stew. I made a number of substitutions to the original 5-star recipe featured on Paula’s Home Cooking (Food Network); I added a wee bit of extra cornstarch to achieve my desired consistency and, as usual, pitched the onion in favor of chopped potatoes and mushrooms. While I loved the result, I will probably omit the celery as well when I make this stew in the future. In any event, the original recipe is featured below – I encourage you to tinker around with it as you like.
Fair warning – this stew smells DIVINE while cooking – my boyfriend and I were both starving within 15 minutes of placing it on the stove!
2 pounds stew beef
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups water, divided
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 clove fresh garlic, peeled
1 or 2 dried bay leaves
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
Dash of ground allspice or ground cloves
3 large fresh carrots, sliced
3 ribs fresh celery, chopped
2 tbsp cornstarch
1. Brown stew beef in hot oil over medium-high heat. Add water, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, bay leaves, onion, salt, sugar, pepper, paprika and allspice. Cover and simmer 1 to 1 ½ hours.
2. Remove bay leaves and garlic clove. Add carrots and celery, cover, and cook for 30 to 40 minutes longer.
3. To thicken gravy, remove 2 cups hot liquid from pot. Using a separate bowl, combine ¼ cup water and cornstarch until smooth. Mix a little hot liquid and return mixture to pot. Stir to incorporate and cook until bubbly.
4. To serve, ladle hot stew into bowls.