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comfort essentials: kicked up beef & tomato stew

Recipe by
Andy Anderson !
Wichita, KS

Man, what a week this has been, below freezing temps for the last 7 days, and today below zero with a whiteout blizzard happening outside. No time for making stops at the grocery. So, I made this with what was on hand, and served it last evening. At the end of it all, there were no leftovers. I think of this as a cross between a soup and a stew. It is chock full of hardy flavors that will keep you warm on those cold Winter evenings and is easy/peasy to make. So, you ready… Let’s get into the kitchen.

yield serving(s)
prep time 10 Min
cook time 40 Min
method Stove Top

Ingredients For comfort essentials: kicked up beef & tomato stew

  • 1/2 c
    flour, all-purpose variety
  • 1/2 tsp
    salt, kosher variety, fine grind, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp
    white pepper, freshly ground, or to taste
  • 1/3 tsp
    ground cumin
  • grapeseed oil, or other non-flavored variety, as needed
  • 1 lb
    beef roast
  • 1/2 md
    yellow onion, sliced into half moons
  • 2 clove
    garlic, minced
  • 2 c
    beef stock, not broth
  • 2 md
    carrots, diced
  • 2 md
    potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch (1.2cm) cubes, peeled or not
  • 1 tsp
    ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp
    dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp
    smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp
    chili pepper flakes
  • salt, kosher variety, to taste
  • white pepper, freshly ground, to taste
  • 14 oz
    diced tomatoes, 1 can
  • 1 Tbsp
    tomato paste, tomato sauce
  • 1/3 c
    green peas, frozen are fine
  • 1 Tbsp
    worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp
    lime juice

How To Make comfort essentials: kicked up beef & tomato stew

  • 1
  • 2
    You will need a good heavy-duty pot, to make this recipe. I prefer my trusty Dutch oven, but use whatever you have available.
  • 3
    CHILI PASTE Most chefs will tell you that pastes are the only way to get that great chili flavor. So, if you have the time, you might want to try out this recipe for making a great chili paste. If you decide to make it, just substitute an equal amount of chili paste for the ancho chili powder in the recipe. This may seem like a lot of work for one recipe ingredient, but the good news is that this paste can be frozen (I like to use an ice cube tray) and used in other recipes; like a yummy pot of chili, served up on a cold Winter’s day… Think about it. HOMEMADE WORCESTERSHIRE Looking for a good Worcestershire without anchovies? It is easy/peasy to make...
  • 4
    POTATOES AND TOMATOES You will notice that the tomatoes and tomato paste are added near the end of the recipe, and there is a very good reason for this. Because tomatoes are an acidic ingredient, the acidity prevents the potatoes from fully softening. Oh, they will eventually cook through and lose most of their raw texture, but it will take longer (up to twice as long) and they will never attain that fall-apart tenderness that we love in our soups and stews. And that is why, when working with taters, you add the tomato products near the end.
  • 5
    POTATO TYPES For this recipe I am looking at two possible potato types: The good old American russet, and the waxier varieties, such as red or golden. The choice of potatoes impacts two different areas: Russets: The russet potato is very starchy, so when they cook, they shed some of that starch into the broth, and help thicken it. In addition, they absorb a lot of flavor from the broth, and have a “melt-in-your-mouth” taste. Red and Golden: The waxy variety of the potato family has less starch, so when you chomp down on one, it will still be tender, but will have sturdier bite to it. And, because they are less starchy they will do little to thicken the broth, and will take about 20 percent longer to fully cook. Note: One of the considerations I make when choosing potato type is if I am going to freeze it. The red and golden variety hold up better in the freezing/thawing process, while russets tend to get rather mushy. FYI: For this recipe I am using russets, because I do not plan on having much in the way of leftovers.
  • 6
    THE BROTH If you want a thinner broth (making it more like a soup), then do not toss the beef in the flour mix, just brown it up with a bit of oil. However, if you choose to brown without the flour mix, make sure that you add the cumin from the flour mix, and add it when the recipe calls for adding the other dry spices.
  • 7
    CUTS OF BEEF Most cut of beef will work in this recipe. What you are looking for is fork tender beef. So, when you put the beef in the broth, the amount of time it is simmered in the broth, is when it is almost fork tender. My times were based on an arm roast.
  • 8
    DRY SPICES When it comes to spicing up a recipe the listed amounts are only an average. For example, When the weather turns cold, I usually add a bit more ancho powder, and white pepper. Think of them as suggestions, and then go from there.
  • 9
    Gather your ingredients (mise en place).
  • 10
    Cut the beef into bite size pieces. I will let you define what “bite-size” means :-)
  • 11
    Combine the flour mix ingredients in a medium bowl, add the beef cubes and toss to completely coat.
  • 12
    Add about one tablespoon of oil to your pot, set to medium heat, then toss in some of the beef.
  • 13
    You do not want to overcrowd the pot, so you probably need to do this in several batches.
  • 14
    Brown the beef (about a minute per side), then remove from the pan, add another tablespoon of oil, and do another batch.
  • 15
    Repeat the process until all the beef is nicely browned, then reserve in a bowl.
  • 16
    Browning beef develops brown bits on the bottom of the pan called fonds. These dried bits, when reconstituted with liquid are like flavor bursts for things like soups and stews. However, if your pan was too hot, those tasty brown bits will turn into bitter burned bits. I HATE it when that happens. If you think your fonds are a bit too on the black side, then wipe the pot out before going to the next step. If they look brown, not black, then leave them in.
  • 17
    Reduce the heat a bit, add another tablespoon of oil, and toss in the onions.
  • 18
    Let them cook until translucent and soft, but not browned, about 3 – 4 minutes.
  • 19
    Toss in the minced garlic, and stir until fragrant, about 60 seconds.
  • 20
    Add the beef broth and the beef, then allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
  • 21
    Toss in the dry spices and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Remember that if you are not browning the beef in the flour mixture, add 1/3 teaspoon of ground cumin, or more to taste.
  • 22
    While the stew is simmering, chop up the carrots.
  • 23
    Add the carrots and simmer for 15 – 18 minutes.
  • 24
    While the stew continues to simmer, cut up the potatoes into equal size pieces.
  • 25
    Throw in the taters and simmer for 20 minutes, or until fork tender.
  • 26
    Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, worcestershire sauce, and peas. Then simmer until warmed through, 5 – 8 minutes.
  • 27
    Take off the heat, stir in the lime juice, and do a final tasting for proper seasoning. And, if the stew seems a bit too thick, add beef stock, a bit at a time until you achieve the proper consistency.
  • 28
  • So Yummy
    Serve in bowls with a dollop of sour cream (optional), maybe some crusty bread and a small side salad. Enjoy.
  • Stud Muffin
    Keep the faith, and keep cooking.

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