Quick Beef Stew

13 10 2008

Every Sunday night I like to cook.  It’s the time when I can spend multiple hours in the kitchen and not feel guilty about shirking my other work, family, and personal responsibilities.  So… on Friday afternoon I usually start getting giddy about what I’m going to make on Sunday.

This week… I was initially planning on an elaborate French-inspired deliciousness… but alas, Sunday got the best of me and I found myself scrambling at 3:00 PM for something to make.  So I thought a good Stew sounded warming and filling.

However, there was a catch.  Usually when making Beef Stew, you want to either 1) plan ahead so your tough stew meat has hours and hours to braise (cook in liquid) properly to tenderize the meat, 2) marinate the tough stew meat in some sort of acid (vinegar, wine, salt) to break down the connective tissue, or 3) buy a more tender cut of meat to use, but this usually means much more expense.  Well… I decided to get creative and combine #1 & 2 and try and reduce the cooking time, since it was already mid-afternoon and I was hungry!

I used a Bottom Round steak because it was on sale and very lean, cut it in very small bite-size pieces, and then braised it in tomato soup for one hour on med-high.  What happened??  Well, because I cooked the steak in acidic tomato soup, it broke down the tissue AND the heat also broke down the tissue.  After cooking this for an hour, I added the remainder of the stew ingredients and cooked for an additional hour.

The result… very tender meat and “cooked all day” tomato sauce mixed with traditional beef stew.  It was absolutely delicious.  And even moreso the day after!

Beef Stew (serves 6)

1 lbs Bottom Round steak

1 T olive oil

1 cans (10.5) Tomato Soup Concentrate

1 1/2 c. water

1 T. Worcestershire Sauce

1 T Dijon mustard

1 medium onions (diced)

2 cloves garlic (diced)

2 turnips (peeled and diced)

3 small Yukon Gold potatoes (diced with skin on)

3 carrots (peeled and chopped)

4 cups beef stock (I prefer Swanson’s Organic)

1/4 cup flour

1 cup water

salt and pepper

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1. Cut up bottom round steak into 1-inch dices.  Salt and pepper these steak pieces.

2. In a large dutch oven, heat 1 T olive oil and brown steak pieces.

3. Add tomato soup, water, Worcestershire, and mustard to pot.  Cook on med-high, covered, for 1 hour until meat is tender stirring frequently.

4. While meat is cooking, dice garlic, onion, potatoes, turnips, and carrots and place in large bowl.

5. After meat is cooked (1 hour) add all vegetables at once and beef stock.  Add more salt and pepper to taste.  Cook on medium heat for 1 hour.

6. After stew has cooked for an hour, in a separate container, add flour to cold water and whisk until combined.  Add to stew and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

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