Classic American Stew

Classic American Stew. I spent the winters of my childhood going to deer camp with my parents. It was quite the two week to-do. We had an old canvas military tent that sort of resembled a yurt, complete with a wood stove inside. Something always bubbling in a cast iron pot on top. A couple feet of snow inevitably fell outside, and my mom would keep us bundled up inside while my dad went to look for next season’s food. So primal now that I look back on it. I always remember stew. Thick, rich, hearty, and warm. Perfect after a day playing in the snow. This cast iron classic doesn’t even need updating. It tastes like childhood comfort. The snow is still falling, and I think we could all use a little more comfort… and another way to use those CSA potatoes 😉
Classic American Stew
Serves 8
1 package beef stew meat, cut to bite size (about 1.5 lbs)
1 lb carrot, cut to coins
1 lb onion, diced
½ can tomato paste (3 oz)
1 lb potato, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry red wine
Fresh thyme, oregano, and parsley (dry is okay, but, you know…)
3 Tbsp bacon fat or butter
3 Tbsp flour
6 cups beef stock
Flour dredge:
½ cup flour
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
Paper sack
  1. Place all dredge ingredients in the paper sack. Add beef to the sack, fold over, and shake to coat all the pieces.
  2. Heat a (cast iron) skillet to medium high, and add fat of choice (Rainshadow lard is a perfect high heat option). Add beef in batches and sear all sides. Set the seared batches aside in a slow cooker or large pot.
  3. Add carrot, onion, and potato to the slow cooker.
  4. Deglaze the beef pan with red wine, tomato paste, and garlic, and scrape all the delicious little browned bits from the pan. Pour into the slow cooker.
  5. Add bacon fat or butter to the pan and heat with flour on medium, whisking constantly until the roux is golden brown. Add to the slow cooker.
  6. Add the beef stock to the slow cooker and heat on low for about 4 hours. If in a stock pot, heat on medium low for about 3 hours.
  7. Chop fresh thyme, oregano, and parsley, adding a couple tablespoons of each to the slow cooker.
  8. Serve with fresh parsley for garnish.