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I live in Las Vegas and it seems that the majority of people think the only weather we get in Vegas is heat.  While that’s not too far from the truth, we do get cooler weather for about 2-3 months out of the year.  December, January, and February are actually COLD!  Now, everything is relative.  When you’re used to 80-90 degree Summers, 20-30 degrees is cold.  When you get 110-115 degree Summers, 40-50 degrees is COLD – and there are times our temperatures dip down into the 30’s during the Winter months. And nothing is better than a dinner that warms you from the inside out like a delicious, hearty bowl of beef stew.

My mother used to make beef stew frequently when I was a kid.  Our family really loved it too.  It was pretty cold here in Vegas and I was looking for a dinner that would be a “stick to your ribs” kind of meal and my mom’s beef stew came to mind.  I had never made it before for my family, and while I knew Rob would love it, I was curious to see how my kids would react.  Turns out they liked it, but we still had some negotiating with respect to the vegetables.

The dish has a lot of depth and flavor.  The beef broth and browning sauce gives it richness, the Tabasco and chili powder give it a little heat, and the vegetables and meat give it a variety of texture.  It is a great dish perfect for a cold and wintry night.

When making the dish I usually use about 1-2 cups of beef broth.  However, combined with the liquid that is already present from the sauteed onions, diced tomatoes, and the frozen vegetables as they warm and cook through, the stew can become a little too liquid.  Add the broth a little at a time to help avoid this.  However, if that happens, you can make a slurry consisting of a little cornstarch and a little water mixed together. Then pour it into the stew.  As it comes to a boil, the slurry will activate and thicken the mixture.  Be sure not to add too much as you don’t want to create a paste.  You could add some more beef broth as needed to thin it out.  However, in doing this – you begin to compromise the integrity of the flavor of the stew.

Enjoy!

beef-stew2

Beef Stew

1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1 large onion, finely diced
1 lb. beef stew meat
1 can diced tomatoes and juice
5 Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, large dice
Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder to season
1/4 tsp. Chili Powder
1 tsp. Paprika
1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
Dash Tabasco sauce
1/2 tsp. Kitchen Bouquet Browning Sauce
1-2 cups beef broth
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables (corn, carrots, peas, green beans)

  1.  In a large pot or Dutch Oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and onions and cook until translucent.  Add the meat and cook about 6-7 minutes turning frequently, to brown on all sides.
  2. Add the tomatoes and potatoes.  Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, and paprika.  Stir.
  3. Add the Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, browning sauce, and beef broth.  Mix well.  Cook about 20-30 minutes until the potatoes are fork tender.
  4. Add the frozen vegetables and cook another 10 minutes or so until the vegetables are cooked through.  Serve immediately.
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