Over the years, I've seen my mom make a number of changes to her stew. She used to make her own gravy for the stew and roughly dice a few onions to give her stew the flavor she wanted. She's changed her recipe over the years, and I've added my spin to it as well. The recipe appears below as I make it.
Mom's Beef Stew
1 lb. beef stew meat
1 onion, chunked
3 or 4 potatoes, chunked
4 cups water
2 cups beef stock
2 packets McCormick Herb Gravy for Beef
1 T. garlic powder
1 T. onion powder
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
carrots, chopped or baby
Brown the beef and drain off fat. Add beef to a stock pot or large pot. Add water, spices, beef stock, and beef gravy. Cook for one hour on medium-high heat, stirring occassionally.
Add potatoes and carrots. Cook for one half hour, stirring occassionally. Add celery and cook for 30 minutes more, or until vegetables are fork tender.
**Add another cup beef stock or 1/2 c. stock with 1/2 c. water to stew for a soupier consistency. If stew is too soupy, add one cup instant mashed potatoes to thicken.
- You could add a few tablespoons of flour to thicken up the stew, but I don't like the aftertaste. You could also boil two potatoes and mash them up for a similar effect.
- My mom likes to dice her onion, but I prefer it chunked up.
- Occassionally I'll throw in the white bottoms to some green onions just to shake it up.
- A tablespoon of basil will also add a nice flavor to the stew, but the herb gravy has plenty of dried herbs so extra flavoring isn't necessary. If you do add extra herbs, chop up some fresh basil or rosemary instead of using dried.
- If it's too spicy, omit the pepper.
- My mom prefers the Old Country way of preparation and browning: leave the fat in! It's good for you! However, I find it's easier and a little healthier to brown the meat in a small pan and drain off the fat.
- Chopped or baby carrots work well. Don't chop them too small or they'll break down.