Thursday, January 19, 2012

0 Beef Stew...

I eat a lot of soups, stews and curries all year long, but I find that I make a lot more soups and stews in the winter. Probably for a couple of reasons, I entertain more and have more large pieces of meat that I need to use up, it's cold out and soup tastes good and makes you feel warmer, last and most importantly because it makes for an incredibly cheap and easy meal. You might be wondering what the difference is between soup and stew. Basically, soup is any combination of meat and/or vegetables cooked in a liquid, stew is pretty much the same thing, except that there is usually less liquid and a thicker broth.

The next couple of articles will be about different stew/soups. And what goes well with stew? Bread! So, I plan on doing a couple of articles on bread too.

I won't be doing a comparison between my stew and something like Dinty Moore because there is no comparison. When you make soup or stew at home you make a POT of soup or stew, and you use whatever is in the house most of the time too, so I'm not going to compare to a can of stew or soup. But I'm pretty sure that it's a lot cheaper to make your own and by cooking up that extra meat and veggies that you have in your refrigerator you will probably be throwing away less rotten food too.

Just like my turkey soup recipe I don't really have a recipe for beef stew, I just throw a bunch of stuff in the pot and cook it up so you will have to bear with me. This is the best representation of what I do to make stew, you don't have to follow it completely and as always be creative – add the spice, veggies and flavors that you like best. Also, your soup or stew will always taste better after sitting for a day or two – so if you have time cook this in advance, store for a couple of days in the fridge and then eat it.

Beef Stew
1 lb or 2 cups beef, cubed (this can be off of a roast, or you can buy stew meat at the store)
1 c carrots, sliced thin
½ c green peppers, chopped
½ c onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4-6 mushrooms, chopped
½ c green beans, chopped
1 15 oz can corn (low-sodium)
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes (low-sodium)
¼ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp garlic powder
2 bay leaves
2 Tbl flour
1 Tbl butter
1 Tbl olive oil
¼ c red wine
salt & pepper to taste (approx ¼ tsp of each)
¼ c lentils
¼ c pearl barley
8 cups of water

Put butter and oil in a large pot over low heat. Add carrots, peppers, onion, garlic, mushrooms and green beans, saute for a couple of minutes. Mix the flour, salt & pepper together, then dredge the beef in the flour mixture. Add the meat to the pot, cook until browned. Add the wine to the pot to deglaze. Once all the bits are off the bottom of the pot add the corn and tomatoes. Raise the heat to medium. Next add the water and spices. Bring to a simmer, add the lentils and barley. Cook until the lentils and barley are done – about 30 minutes. You may want to add more water or you may want to make a slurry of flour and water and thicken it. Remove bay leaves before serving.

You can substitute or add a couple of potatoes cut into cubes instead of the lentils and barley. Or you can add rice. Change out the vegetables and spices to your liking – maybe add celery, squash, or peas and some curry, nutmeg or cinnamon.  You may want to add more salt. This recipe makes about 8 servings.

Nutritional Data
Calories 208
Total Fat 6 g
     Saturated Fat 2 g
     Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 40 mg
Sodium 55 mg
Total Carbohydrates 23 g
     Dietary Fiber 5 g
     Sugars 2 g
Protein 16 g
Vitamin A 54%
Vitamin C 23%
Calcium 3%
Iron 12 %

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