Monday, December 3, 2012

Farmhouse Diner: How To: Make Beef or Venison Stew

What's that story in the Bible about someone giving up their birthright for a stew?

Yep, men LOVE's just in them, I think from the beginning.

In the beginning, men loved stew.

I'll teach you how my mama taught me.

STEP ONE:  Flour, seasoned salt and plenty o' peppa.  Coarsely ground peppa. (When you are done dipping, keep the extra cuz you'll need some of this for the roux for the gravy.)

First, get your beef or venison stew meat thawed, and then several hours before you want to eat, get your meat ready to brown.  This is the messiest part, but I believe it makes the stew worth the while.

So do the men.

When you are browning this up, just hope no men are home, because it always brings the men into the kitchen to ask "What are you cooking?" and then the inevitable:  "Can I have some now?"  For that reason, I always get at least two packs of our venison stew meat from the freezer....

STEP TWO:  Rollllll 'em, dip 'em and slap 'em in the pan (that has a little oil in it that's hot 'n ready...) leaving a little room between each piece for excellent browning.

Sizzle....sizzle....snap!  OUCH!!

Sorry about some of these pics, I did all the pics for the whole post with my iPhone...

Keep on going until all those little individual tasty venison nuggets are done!  

(My youngest would be the happiest with a plate of this, forget the veggies.)

STEP THREE:  Drain on paper towels.

STEP FOUR:  Salivate. (Not really.)

STEP FOUR:  Make a roux for the graaaaavy....first though, drain off most of the extra oil you browned the meat in. 

Whip that leftover seasoned flour into the pan while you stir, stir, stir and get all the tasty bits off the bottom of the pan.  

You know the deal with a roux, get the flour nice 'n browned, then you pour in water all the while you are still whipping the roux....stir until you get a look of good stew gravy.

STEP FIVE:  Prepare those root vegetables like onions, carrots, potatoes, all the goodies here came from our garden.  Add celery, if you want for flavor.  

I only wash carrots and cut them roughly in irregular sizes for a good primitive look.  Isn't that how stew should look, not all uniform and perfect?

For our stew, I like to go to our potato bin and get all the oddball ones from that year's crop and use the tiny or misshapen ugly potatoes for stew.  

I wash them well, but I leave the peelings on, especially these red ones.  Some will need to but cut up, and some left whole, but I do like a rough-looking stew, it's STEW, man!

STEP SIX:  Throw a bouillon or two into the gravy pan.  Why?  Because the potatoes and the carrots will cook and need to absorb some of the salt or your stew will be bland, baby. 

No bland stew.  No no no.

STEP SEVEN:  Get your old turkey roaster out (this gives the best finish, best flavor to the stew, but that's just my opinion, you just use your favorite oven pan...).  

Add all the meat, vegetables, and your excellent roux gravy.

(I leave my celery and onion whole because one of my guys don't like that in their stew, but I like the flavor it gives.  When the pan is done, I can remove the whole onion and the celery pieces before serving.).

STEP EIGHT:  Bake in a 300 degree oven for several hours until it looks right, and all the vegetables are soft.  Make sure from time to time it's not drying up, you may need to add a bit of water and stir here and there.  Remember you need enough liquid for the potatoes and carrots to absorb before you bake.  When it's done and it's still not dinnertime, turn the oven down low to keep it warm and then serve.

And there you go.  

Something delish and filling on a cold night--something that one man sold his birthright for.

(By the way, I don't require that of my boys.)

Beef or venison stew:

1.  Make a flour and seasoned salt/pepper mixture
2.  Dip pieces of stew meat to cover each one
3.  Brown each piece individually in a hot pan with a little oil
4.  Make a roux using leftover flour, to make the gravy with pan drippings
5.  Wash and prepare the vegetables you want to use and chop them roughly
6.  Add the gravy with some extra water and some beef bouillon.
7.  Add all the meat and veggies to a roaster 
8.  Bake several hours at 300.

Serve warm right from the pan and add cornbread or a salad for an excellent winter meal! 


Michelle said...

OMGoodness! I'm pinning this for the next cold day (which might be a few days, since the high today is suppose to be 82)!
Thanks for the recipe!


aimee said...

Please accept a BIG Pacific NW hug from me right now as I copy your recipe for this week! LOVE the fact that you bake it instead of doing it in the crock pot or stovetop:)
Advent Blessings,