Beef Stew

It’s the first full day of Autumn – and it’s damp and rainy. It’s also Sunday – the end of the grocery shopping week when the pickin’s can be a bit slim.

Time to make a batch of beef stew.

I’m reasonably old, so stew doesn’t have a recipe – it’s just something you make. And it’s made slightly different each time – while being remarkably the same. A bit more vegetables, a bit less. Made with potatoes, made with wide noodles. Red wine, brandy, coffee. Like soup, it’s the perfect clean-out-the-refrigerator dish.

So… while I said stew doesn’t have a recipe, my Mom wrote down hers years ago.

Mom's Beef Stew

This was her basic, although she improvised on it every time she made a pot. Mom was a modern cook of the ’60s, so she used things like onion soup mix, bouillon cubes, and seasoned salt, regularly.

My basic is red wine, onions, carrots celery, and beef broth. If I don’t have wine, I’ll use coffee. Sometimes a splash of brandy for a bit of oomph. I also like to cook the meat in bacon fat when I have it in the ‘fridge. The potatoes are often russets, but this batch was made with unpeeled baby gold. French herbs or herbes de provence are the standard, although they can change with my mood or what’s in the pantry.

The end result was a filling and satisfying dish. In keeping with our new eating regime, I made just enough for dinner and lunch.