Beef Stew...the very definition of "comfort food".
First off...as with anything delicious, start with a hearty glob of Crisco...add in a glob of butter, which I didn't take a picture of but TRUST ME, we did it.
When your oil/butter is nice and hot, toss in a single layer of beef and brown. Make sure not to crowd the pot, as Gram says, "You want to BROWN your beef, not cook it."...listen to her. She knows what she's doin'.
With each "batch" of meat you put in the pot to brown, put a good layer of salt...
And pepper onto the raw meat. Just sprinkle on enough salt and pepper so that each piece of meat is covered...nothing precise about it! We'll teach you to be a "dump and pour" cook yet!
Look at the gorgeous (and by "gorgeous" I mean "delicious") color! Meat browning, getting lots of tasty bits on the bottom of the pot for flavor later!
When all of the meat is browned, add in just enough water to barely cover the meat, making sure to scrape all those tasty bits from the bottom of the pot!
Now, get some carrots. Giant "carrots on steroids"...those suckers were LONG!
Peel and chop 'em up!
Next up, potatoes, peeled and cubed...(be aware, we put the carrots and potatoes in water because we did them a bit ahead of time and wanted to keep them fresh...this is not a required step if you're not prepping in advance!)
After simmering the beef for a couple of hours, add in carrots and then potatoes. Allowing broth to return to a boil and carrots to cook for a bit before adding potatoes.
Bring broth back to a boil after adding potatoes, allow to cook until potatoes are fork (or knife) tender.
This is when you get to rely on your senses. Taste the broth...if it needs to be "beefier", mix up some bouillon granules (this is what Gram swears by, nothin' but Wyler's granules) with water and add it to the broth.
This also adds a bit of saltiness, so make sure to taste it again and see if it needs more salt AFTER adding the bouillon.
Then, try to find a little "hole" in the stew and slowly drizzle in your slurry, stirring the whole time, until desired thickness. Keep in mind your little "hole" will be thicker than the rest of the pot until you mix it all together.
If, after mixing, you discover you want it thicker, just drizzle in more of the slurry until you are happy with your gravy thickness!
And, voila...beef stew. Like a hug in a bowl.
Gram's Beef Stew
3 lbs beef stew meat
2 lbs carrots-peeled and cut into 1" pieces
3 med-lg onions-coarse chopped
4 lbs potatoes-peeled and cut into 1" cubes
1/4 c Crisco
2 T butter
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c flour and enough water to make "slurry" (consistency of thick cream)
Wyler's Beef Bouillon granules to taste
Heat Crisco and butter until hot, add single layer of beef in bottom of pot, season well with salt and pepper, brown, remove from pot to make room for the next batch of meat. Repeat until all meat is browned, being careful not to crowd bottom of pot...and make sure to season each "batch" of meat! Add a bit of the onion in with the last batch of beef. Return all meat and juices to pot, cover with water until beef is just barely covered, simmer for 2-3 hours. After 1 hour of cooking, add in rest of onion. After 2 hours, add in carrots, return to boil and simmer for 15 minutes, then add in potatoes and bring back to boil. Cook until potatoes are fork tender. Taste broth and decide if bouillon granules are needed and/or more salt and pepper. Mix together slurry ingredients (flour and water) and slowly drizzle into broth until desired thickness.
Serve immediately with some tasty bread and enjoy!