Beef Stew will always and forever remind me of my dad not just because it’s his favorite meal but because he made it so darn well. But in order to talk to you about my father’s cooking skills I need to first paint you the whole picture. Both of my parents are great in the kitchen and as much as I made fun of my mom as a teenager for having takeout on speed dial (sorry mom but you did!) she definitely had a few meals that were my favorites. However, I don’t get my cooking skills from my mom.
You see, she’s a recipe follower. She goes into the kitchen with a plan and executes it exactly according to that plan. There is very little deviation and the result is almost always the same. That’s not how my dad cooks. I once went into the kitchen to see him make my favorite shrimp pasta and was horrified to see him at work. He was like a mad scientist mixing a little bit of this and a little bit of that. The result was slightly different than all of the other times he made my favorite shrimp pasta but omgosh it was still so amazing!
Now, 15 years later, I can see that the way I cook now is so similar to my dad. I use recipes as a base for my creativity and love to go with the flow as I do my work in the kitchen. If I’m in a spicy mood I’ll add some red pepper flakes. If I want some creaminess I’ll add a huge dollop of yogurt. I love to have fun and not take my recipes too seriously. Well, most of them…. not this beef stew.
You see, once you find your tried and true recipe for something, it would be foolish to change it. Which is why this beef stew, for me, never changes. The simplicity of the recipe shines through in the perfection of the result. It is always tender, it is always flavorful, and it always reminds me of my dad.
- 2 pounds beef stew cubes
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- salt and ground pepper
- 2 medium onions cut into chunks, or a bag of pearl onions
- 4 potatoes cut into chunks
- 1 bag baby carrots, or 4 carrots shaved and cut into chunks
- Place beef in slow cooker and season well with salt.
- Spread tomato paste over beef, then sprinkle flour over the top, then pour in the vinegar.
- Add onions, potatoes, and carrots, seasoning with salt and pepper in between each layer.
- Cover slow cooker and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5. Beef should fall apart and the vegetables should be fork tender.
- Serve over polenta, toss with egg noodles, over some brown rice, or alone with a peppery and vinegary side salad.
We like to make a big batch of this at the beginning of the week and to keep it from getting stale we eat it a ton of different ways. This beef stew is excellent over freshly cooked egg noodles to create a beefy pasta or over some perfectly cooked polenta. That’s actually y preferred way to serve it to me son- with cubed polenta or with a simple side salad. Beef Stew has always been a favorite of mine but seeing how much my son enjoys eating (or should I say devouring it), the recipe has grown even closer to my heart. Who knows, one day my son may say “Beef Stew will always and forever remind me of my mom…”.
Are there any recipes that remind you of your childhood?