When the weather’s cold outside, there’s nothing better than a nutritious beef stew. Made with lots of vegetables and a cheap cut of meat, stew can really warm you up and fill you up while still being low in fat, calories and carbohydrates. The real winner for dishes like this is the fact that it gets better the second or third time.
Another great thing about stew is that it’s easy to make, something you can just throw together, let cook a while and then enjoy.
Stews have been around for at least 8,000 years, according to archeological information. They are defined as solid food bits cooked in a flavorful liquid, very similar to braising. Stews differ from a soup in that they are usually thicker, using some kind of thickening agent or technique. Also, stews are usually cooked longer over a low heat, where soups can be thrown together and consumed in less than an hour.
You’ll notice in the recipe below the meat is coated in flour before browning. That thickens the dish, although not by much. If you want thicker gravy you can add a roux or corn starch slurry later in the cooking process. This hearty stew can be stored or frozen in single serving containers for a quick dinner or lunch throughout the week or weeks to come. Serve with crusty bread and a nice red wine.
Easy Weekend Beef Stew
Prep Time: 15 minutes; Cook Time: 2 hours 10 minutes; Ready In: 2 1/2 hours; Servings: 6 of 1-1/2 cups each.
- 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
- 1 lb. beef flank, chuck or round steak, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick) or olive oil
- 2 cups water or 1 cup beef stock with 1 cup water
- 1 beef bullion cube if not using stock
- 1 cup black coffee, decaffeinated preferred
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 6 small to medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- 6 small carrots cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- 1 medium onion cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- 1 tsp. browning and seasoning sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- splash of red wine vinegar
- Put flour in shallow bowl or dish. Add salt, pepper, paprika and Italian seasoning. Mix well.
- Add beef chunks and toss around with a clean hand until all beef pieces are well covered with seasoned flour. Save any leftover flour and set aside.
- Heat a large saucepan or a soup pot over medium heat. Melt butter if using or add olive oil. Add beef and brown on all sides stirring occasionally. Browning takes 8 to 10 minutes. Don’t worry if the flour starts to look a little grayish.
- Add the water, coffee, thyme and any leftover flour mixture. Raise the heat to high and stir well. When it begins to boil, lower the heat to low and cover. Allow to simmer for one hour.
- Add all of the remaining ingredients and again raise the heat to high to bring to a boil while stirring thoroughly. Lower heat back to low, cover and let simmer for another hour or until meat and vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
- Taste the gravy for seasoning, remove the bay leaf and add a splash of red wine vinegar before serving.
Calories 341, Calories from fat 120, total fat, 130 g, saturated fat 7 g, cholesterol 56 mg, Carbohydrate 38 g, Fiber 5 g, Sugar 10 g, protein 18 g per serving.