Friday, October 29, 2010

Super Cheap, Super Simple, Super Good Beef Stew

Last month I was teaching the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales and if I could come up with something as good as:

Whan that April with his showres soote
The droughte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veine in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flowr; describe the feeling I get in October when the temperatures begin to drop, the leaves begin to change and every breeze feels cool and crisp, I'd do it for you, but I'm no poet and don't I know it (cheesy, I know -- sorry). Anyway take the lines above and reverse them so that instead of spring, you're thinking Autumn and you'll know why I'm cooking beef stew tonight.

I'm a fan of easy, cheap -- but, nevertheless, DELICIOUS home cooked meals.  I've already blogged about my Chicken Soup, so it's time for another mainstay here in my little mountain dome.  Like the soup though, this is almost so obvious and so easy, I feel a little silly detailing the recipe.  Still, there must be others like me out there who were never really taught how to do any of this, so for them -- I'll describe the process.  Besides, I really love this recipe and my family devours it -- it's good to know.

I buy my stew meat in bulk from Costco and freeze it, so I almost always have the makings of this dish on hand.  I only use it a pound of the stew beef too (it's mostly for flavor), so it's really not a pricey meal at all.  So here goes:  throw the stew beef in a crock pot (no need to even brown it first), chop up a few onions, 6-8 carrots, a head of celery and as many potatoes as you can stuff in your crock pot.  Add some tomato soup (I use Trader Joe's tomato soup in a box) and a can of creamed corn (I know, I generally think that stuff is gross, but trust me it works in here).  Season to taste with basil, oregano, salt, pepper and You. Are. Done.

Let it cook all day and at dinner time check the seasonings and eat it.  Sometimes, I serve it over rice or noodles -- it goes farther that way.  It's even better as leftovers the next day, so when I say fill that crock pot... I mean it.  I love that this takes hardly any effort and pleases everyone in my house.  There aren't many meals that do that.  So, for convenience (and shopping lists), here's the recipe:

1 lb. stew beef
8 carrots
Head of Celery
2 Onions
Heap of Potatoes
1-2 cans Tomato Soup
1 can Creamed Corn
Oregano/Basil/Salt/Pepper (to taste)

Chop up veggies, throw everything in a crock pot for 8-10 hours on low and serve over rice or noodles (optional).


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