Food on Friday: Helping ourselves to beef stew

Beef_Stew

By Julia Westhoff

It’s happened twice in a row now and it’s not really okay. Twice in a row we’ve stopped by my in-laws around dinner time. Twice in a row they’ve taken pity on us and invited us to stay for dinner. Twice in a row have I pretended to hesitate, then sat down and devoured what was set in front of me.

Can you blame me? My mother-in-law is a great cook. She can pull a gourmet meal together in 5 minutes flat. The girls get their own special little trays and forks, Daisy climbs in to her high chair (never mind that she hates being in the high chair at home), and we all enjoy ourselves immensely, thank you very much.

But it’s getting a little ridiculous. Last time it happened it was only after I sat down to my tomato soup and warm rolls did I look up to realize that our hosts were not sitting down to eat with us. In fact, they were not planning on eating for hours, and were probably in the middle of doing something important before we barged in and made ourselves at home.

It’s not cool. We’re going to get a reputation. So I’m doing the next best thing. I’m trying to cook more like Marilyn, starting with this copycat recipe for the beef stew she made us recently. It will be perfect for the snow we’re supposed to have this weekend. Now if only I had some wood for the fireplace. Come to think of it, I seem to recall a large pile at my in-law’s…

Crock Pot Beef Stew

2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 lb stew meat, cut into 1 ½ x 2″ pieces
1 large onion, chopped
3 potatoes, cubed
3 carrots, sliced
3 stalks celery, sliced
½ cup ketchup
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp paprika
½ tsp dry mustard
2 cups beef stock
¼ cup water
¼ cup flour

Heat a large pan over medium high heat. Add olive oil and sear meat on all sides then remove. Place beef in a slow cooker and cover with the onion and other vegetables. In a small bowl, mix together ketchup, Worcestershire, brown sugar, paprika, dry mustard and beef broth. Pour mixture over meat and vegetables then cook on low for 10 hours. During the last half hour of cooking, mix the flour and water together and pour over meat, stir in then turn heat to high for the last half hour. Season with salt and pepper to taste.