(Breakfast) Beef Stew

Posted on December 17, 2008. Filed under: beef, one pot, recipe |

This is my take on a recipe first published in Marion Harland’s Common Sense for the Household (1884), updated in The American Heritage Cookbook (1964, edited by Helen McCully).  I’ve updated it to suit my taste, and you should feel free to play with it, too.  This was, without a doubt, the best beef stew I’ve made.

2 Lbs. Beef, cubed
Grass fed beef preferred!
2 Tbs. Flour
1 Tbs. Fat, your choice, butter preferred
1 Small Onion, sliced
2 Carrots, quartered
3 Ribs Celery, quartered
1 Parsnip, quartered
1 Small Green Bell Pepper, quartered
3 Cloves Garlic, crushed
1 1/2 Cup Beef Broth
3/4 Cup Water
1 Tbs. Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
4 Sprigs Savory
6 Sprigs Marjoram
6 Sprigs Thyme
1 Tsp. Salt
1 Tbs. Mustard
1 Tbs. Worcestershire Sauce
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
2 Sprigs Savory
4 Sprigs Each Thyme & Marjoram
Begin by coating beef with flour.  Melt fat in pan, then add beef to brown.  After beef browns, add vegetables.  Cook 5 minutes.  
This step is optional, but recommended.  Not only does it deepen the flavor of the dish, the melting fat & flour form a roux that will thicken the stew.  If you decide not to brown, omit the flour.

Add remaining ingredients in the top part of the list.  You’ll save yourself some time (thyme!) later by either tying the herbs together with twine, or putting them in a tea bag.  See, the herbs are woody, and not especially tasty to eat, so- better to keep them in one place and remove them when the dish is done.
Bring to a boil.  Lower heat to simmer.  Walk away for 1.5 – 3 hours.  You can stir from time to time, but that’s all the work you need to do.
In the last five minutes, add the remaining ingredients.  Again, it’s a good idea to keep the herbs together.  Taste, and add salt as necessary.  Serve over some kind of simple starch- rice, potato, noodles.
As with all dishes of this kind, it’s only going to get better with a day or two in the fridge.  Also, don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients.  There isn’t a lot of work to do, I promise.  The assembly took 20 minutes, including the browning.
Why is it called a breakfast stew?  I have no idea!  Maybe this was breakfast in 1884.

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