“I would like to find a stew that will give me heartburn immediately, instead of at three o’clock in the morning.” ~John Barrymore
This is one of the best beef stew recipes I’ve had. I discovered it over 47 years ago when we were newly married; and somewhere along the way, I started making it for our Christmas Eve dinner. It’s become a tradition for us to have this on Christmas Eve ever since. Everyone who has ever had it really loves it because it’s so full of flavor. I was really hoping to have shared this recipe with you last week, but it just didn’t work out, so here it finally is.
- 2 Tablespoons oil
- 2 pounds lean stewing beef
- 1 large onion, sliced, then cut into quarters
- 1 clove garlic, crushed or insert a toothpick through it
- 4 cups boiling water
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (I put a couple extra splats of it into the pot)
- ½ teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 or 2 bay leaves
- dash of ground cloves
- 6 carrots, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 6 medium potatoes, diced
- ½ cup cold water
- ¼ cup flour
- Trim any excess fat from the stewing beef.
- Heat oil in a large Dutch oven.
- Add the beef and as it browns, add the sliced and quartered onions.
- Continue to brown the beef and cook until the onions are translucent.
- Add the crushed garlic or with it on a toothpick.
- Add the boiling water, salt, lemon juice, sugar, Worcestershire sauce (along with a couple extra splats of this to the pot), pepper, paprika, bay leaf and cloves.
- Cover and simmer 2 hours.
- Add the potatoes and carrots, and continue to simmer until the vegetables are cooked and the meat is tender.
- Discard the bay leaf.
- To thicken the broth:
- Whisk together ½ cup cold water and ¼ cup flour. A shaker will also work, if you have one. Whisk until there are no lumps. If by chance you have lumps, strain through a wire strainer.
- Stir this flour mixture into the broth and cook, stirring constantly, until the gravy thickens and boils.
After slicing the onion, I cut it into quarters, as shown above.
Start by adding the stewing beef and as it starts to brown, add in the onions.
The original recipe called for a toothpick to be put through a garlic clove and to be retrieved later; but it always cooked and fell off the toothpick and ended up somewhere in the stew. So I just recently started crushing the garlic instead. The above photo (which I took a couple of years ago), shows the garlic on the toothpick. Either way is fine with the garlic.
After the boiling water has been added, then add in the rest of the seasonings, as listed above.
Stir well, then cover and simmer for at least 2 hours.
At this point the toothpick (with hopefully the garlic still on it), and the bay leaf can be removed.
Whisk together the cold water and flour until it’s smooth.
Add the flour mixture to the broth and stir constantly until it thickens and boils.
The gravy will be thickened, but not thick, as shown above.
This is excellent served over biscuits or with biscuits on the side. I’ll share my great Southern-style buttermilk biscuit recipe with you in the next few weeks.
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