It still feels like summer in Az (91 today) but I'm once again trying to will fall into visiting us. I do this every year. Saturday I made beef stew - and decided I haven't been all that fond of my beef stew recipes all these years. I took some of my old ingredients, added some new and came up with what I think is the best beef stew I have ever made in my life! I think using beef base and wine in the broth did the trick. And not cooking wine - that stuff is NASTY! Now - I'm not a wine drinker and if you have objection to using it in your cooking, you can leave it out (the alcohol cooks out, so don't fret) but I would advise not to. It makes the broth so deep and hearty.
If you haven't ever used beef or chicken broth base, you should. "Better Than Bullion" is good but Costco caries Tones and I think it's just as good. So much better than broth - and you can make it as strong or weak as you like. I make it from the container like the directions say and if you need your broth saltier, add a little more base instead of salt. More depth of flavor - once again. I also use half chicken and half beef broth. I also cut the carrots in rather large pieces so that those picky eaters in our house there's only 2 of us and it isn't me can pick them out.
BONNIE'S BEEF STEW
1 1/2-2 lbs. beef stew meat (I cut them smaller than they come from store)
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 glove garlic, chopped
2-3 ribs of celery cut into chunks
2-3T olive oil
In large stock pot, heat olive oil and saute chopped onion, garlic celery and stew meat just until meat is not pink any longer. Add:
10 cups broth (I use half chicken and half beef)
1/2 cup good red wine (not cooking wine - its awful)
1 1/2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 T. fresh flat leaf parsley (Italian) or 1/2 T. dried parsley
1/2 t. dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 t. sugar
coarse black pepper
Kosher salt to taste (I usually add more broth concentrate if it needs salt)
Bring to a soft boil, cover with a lid and simmer on low about an hour until beef is tender. Add:
1 1/2 lbs cubed red potatoes (don't peel them)
4-5 medium carrots cut into 2 inch chunks
Continue to simmer just until potatoes and carrots are tender.
If you like your broth a little thicker, mix 2 T. cornstarch with a little cold water and quickly stir into hot soup, stirring continually so you don't get chunks. We like our broth soupy, so I don't thicken it.