2 Lbs Beef, (Top Round or Chuck)
3 Tablespoons Butter
1 Onion, Diced
3 Carrots, sliced
2 Russet Potatoes, Cubed
14 oz Corn
14 oz Green Beans
8 oz Tomato Paste
3 Quarts Water
1 Tablespoon Granulated Garlic
1 Teaspoon Paprika
1 Dash Worcestershire Sauce
Beef Bouillon Cube (Optional)
When I was a kid, my Mom’s cooking was my entire culinary world, with the occasional exception of a family dinner out to El Chico or better still, Curly’s Catfish Cabin, a little hole in the wall catfish joint on Caddo Lake. (Back in the Seventies, hole in the wall catfish joints were all over the place. Whatever happened to those?)
Oh well, I digress. What I’m saying was that Mom made simple yet tasty fare that I loved, and this recipe was one of my favorites. She called it simply ‘Stew;’ not ‘Beef Stew’ (though there was beef in it), not ‘Hobo Stew,’ (I’m pretty sure no hobos were involved in the making of her stew) and certainly not Brunswick Stew (I don’t think we even knew where Brunswick was back then, let alone New Brunswick). No, it was simply stew, and it was a delightful orange -colored broth with chunks of beef (usually leftover roast from Sunday) and whatever vegetables were on hand (corn and green beans always seemed to make an appearance). It was a warming dish served on cold autumn and winter nights, always with plenty of cornbread for sopping purposes.
I can’t remember the last time I had a bowl of Mom’s stew that she herself had made. When my sibs and I grew up and moved out, she slowly stopped making Sunday roasts, and thus the basis for stew was gone. Sadly, she passed away without me ever thinking to ask her for her recipe. I’ve been longing for this stew lately, so I consulted my sister, and she had a few thoughts, and with that, I went forth and tried to replicate Mom’s stew. The result is close, but it’s not an exact match to the flavor I remember, but it was quite delicious, so I decided it was worthy of blogging. I’ll probably continue to tweak it over the coming years. (Ed. Note: I've retitled this post 1950's Housewife Stew in honor of Mom and to give it a more colorful name)
Melt Butter in a large pot or Dutch oven.
When hot, brown the beef in the butter,
in batches if necessary (do not crowd or you’ll steam the beef, not brown it) on all sides and reserve.
Add the diced onion and cook until translucent, about eight 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
When the onions have cleared, add the paprika and Worcestershire sauce, stir and cook for another minute.
...and bring to a boil. Return beef to pot...
...cover and let boil for a couple minutes.
Reduce to a simmer and cook beef for an hour or so before you add anything else. This will allow it to ‘stew’ and get tender. After this time, add the carrots, potatoes, corn, green beans and tomato paste.
Cook another 45 minutes to an hour on low heat. Taste stew and adjust flavor as necessary with salt and pepper. Add the bouillon cube if a bit more ‘beefy’ flavor is desired.
Serve with some hot homemade cornbread for dipping (or sopping, as we like to say down here) purposes.
And so, that’s it. This is certainly not the ‘fanciest’ stew recipe you’ll ever come across, but it’s a darn tasty one, reminiscent of my childhood. I think I’ll keep it.
Until next time,
Pass me another slice of cornbread!