There will always be certain meals that make fantastic leftovers. Given an extra night in the fridge, the flavors create this dimension absent upon first serving. Knowing you’ll have something even better than last night’s dinner for lunch today certainly helps break up the weariness of the workweek!
Old Time Beef Stew is one of these meals. It is a blast from the past; the stew my mother made when I was a child. I’m pretty sure she found it in her copy of the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook with the red checkered tablecloth cover, but the version in my edition varies dramatically. I don’t like the modernized recipe even half as much as the original, so I stubbornly stick with it to this day!
That’s not to say I haven’t tried to adjust this old favorite to accommodate new tastes. I’ve changed out components over the years, eliminating the 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, throwing in green beans in the last 15 minutes or so when I have them, adding extra potatoes, and even replacing all of the water with red wine. But the base remains the same, a tried and true remnant of childhood family dinners that will continue to grace my family’s table for years to come.
- 2 lbs beef stew meat, cut in 1½" cubes
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 cups hot water
- 2 Tbsp red wine of your choice (I chose Cupcake Malbec this time)
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 bay leaves (I used fresh off the bay tree I have growing in my bathroom)
- 1 Tbsp fine sea salt
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- ½ tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp black pepper, freshly ground, if possible
- dash ground allspice
- 5 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 6 medium potatoes, peeled, pared and quartered
- ⅓ cup cold water
- 3 Tbsp all purpose flour
- In a Dutch oven, thoroughly brown meat in 2 Tbsp hot olive oil, turning often.
- Add 2 cups hot water and next 9 ingredients. Cover; simmer for 1½ hours, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking.
- Add vegetables. Cover and cook for an additional 30-45 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
- Remove bay leaves.
- Slowly blend 3 Tbsp flour into the ⅓ cup cold water. Stir this slowly into the hot stew mix. Cook until bubbly, then cook and stir for 3 minutes longer.
- Serve hot with fresh bread. Leftovers keep for 3 days refrigerated in an air-tight container. Stew can be frozen for up to 1 month.