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
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
½ cup flour
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
- Place all dredge ingredients in the paper sack. Add beef to the sack, fold over, and shake to coat all the pieces.
- 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.
- Add carrot, onion, and potato to the slow cooker.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Chop fresh thyme, oregano, and parsley, adding a couple tablespoons of each to the slow cooker.
- Serve with fresh parsley for garnish.