I was thrilled to get a note from a family friend in California: Freda Shen. If the name sounds familiar it’s because she’s a theater, film, and television actress. She wrote to tell me that she made the Beef Stew recipe I posted last week . . . well, almost. She improvised as she went along and came up with a dish uniquely designed to her taste.
Freda wrote me the following note about her beef stew saga:
A winner! In every way. So delicious! Plus, it took me an easy hour to make, with very little mess in the kitchen once the stew was in the oven. Wash up was quick; not many items used.
And it was perfect weather for cooking this wonderful dish—unseasonably cold, with a rain storm that came down from Canada.
Having the butcher cut the roast into chunks made the process much quicker and easier. All I did was cut off extra fat.
I then used the paper bag method to coat the chunks, and put them in a large salad bowl. Browned up easily, in small batches as you recommended—probably only 4-5 minutes per batch. The hot browned chunks went onto a large serving plate.
Cut up all the vegetables and put them in the salad bowl, which still had bits of flour in it. I sauteed them with the extra flour in the Dutch oven, scraping up the browned bits.
Upping the Flavor
I used Costco’s Kirkland Minced Garlic (so easy, no need to mince it myself!) and Zoup Bone Broth (beef) for the liquid. No Worcestershire sauce, so I used my Nama Shoyu soy sauce. No sugar (genetics have caught up with me and last year I went pre-diabetic), but with the turnip and carrots, the stew was sweet enough.
Buddy Goes to Nosework Class
The stew then cooked for an hour and a half, at which point I threw in the potatoes (red) and a dozen medium mushroom caps, that I’d lightly browned in butter, and turned off the oven, as I had to leave to take my dog to Nosework class for the next 2 hours. The mushrooms were in the fridge and would have gone bad in another day, so I thought, what the heck.
When I came back, I turned the oven back on for 45 minutes, after which, what a feast! Really, really delectable. The gravy was velvety, the taste complex, and the meat meltingly tender. The potatoes still had firm texture and the vegetables were all distinct and sweet and yummy. I had to give myself seconds. Licking out the bowl, Buddy gives your “stew” paws up!
I forgot to get frozen peas, but when I warm up some of the stew for tomorrow, I’ll try stirring in a handful of baby kale. Not very old-fashioned, but it’s what’s in the fridge!
This is definitely going to be a dish I make every winter at least once! I have enough leftovers for 4 more servings as one-bowl meals. That’s a lot of delicious eating for not much time and effort! And a great company dish as well.
If I’d used the Crockpot method, would the potatoes have gone in just before turning it up to high?
Thanks so much, Jean. Your blog is a triumph!
Take care and joyous eating,
My Response: Thanks, Freda! Well staged photo! I bet it didn’t take Nosework School for Buddy to get a scent of that stew! As to the potato insertion, a good Yukon Gold holds up splendidly in a Crockpot.