Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Perfect Autumn Beef Stew

Serve with Cheesy Biscuits

Living in Southern California has caused me to really appreciate minor temperature and weather fluctuations.  On a normal day we may have variations of sun, morning clouds followed by sun, or... sun.

In the fall, when temperatures take a little dip, Southern Californians  immediately switch into seasonal mode and make the most of the autumn day.  People will be found in jeans, sweaters, UGGS, and North Face outerwear.  Being a Pacific Northwesterner, when I first witnessed this display, I used to chuckle, but now I too have adapted.  On those chilly, cozy fall days, I light a couple candles, put on my stay-at-home sweats (they're like Hammer pants made of fleece), and pull out the crock-pot and create the coziest comfort food I can think of.

We had a couple of those days last week so I was busy crockin' it up.  My hub loves it when I make something that's really beefy and potato-ish.  He's such a meat and potatoes kind of guy.  If I were to make meat and potatoes every night for the rest of his life, I don't think he'd complain, but I couldn't handle it...so it's not going to happen.

I like this recipe because it's not a heavy gravy-type beef stew, it's like like beefy vegetable soup, but it will thicken.  I also think this stew is almost better as leftovers after the flavors have had time to meld together.  If you like a thicker stew just use one can of stewed tomatoes, but I add two to stretch the meal a bit.

Beef Stew with Mushrooms & Vegetables


3-4 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon- Beef (I love this stuff!!  Thanks to my aunt for introducing me to it).
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 lg. clove garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon paprika
8 oz. mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 lb. carrots, peeled and sliced
3 stalks celery, sliced
4 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
2 small onions, diced
2- 15 oz. cans stewed tomatoes (if you want a thicker stew, only use one)

Put beef in crock pot/slow cooker.  Mix flour, salt and pepper together and sprinkle over meat;  stir to make sure flour mixture coats meat.  Add remaining ingredients, mix well.

Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours.  Stir occasionally.  Remove and discard bay leaf.

Serve with Cheesy Biscuits...recipe to follow.

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