When I was a kid, my parents always took turns cooking. When I say “took turns,” I don’t necessarily mean that literally. I just mean that some nights mama would cook, other nights, dad would. It just depended on different situations. At any rate, they could both cook just about anything you asked them to cook, but of course they each had their own “specialties” that they cooked.
One of my dad’s specialties that was so good was his beef stew. Man, that stuff was delicious! His beef stew was so good, any time we took the kids up to visit, they would always ask, “Is Pop going to make beef stew?” He always did, too. My dad passed a couple of years ago, and my oldest son is now about to graduate high school, but he still thinks about “Pop’s beef stew” when asked about his favorite foods.
My dad’s recipe for beef stew included canned roast beef and store-bought packets of brown gravy. I’ve adapted his recipe a bit for a couple of reasons. First, we eat beef roast around here a good bit, but we always have some to spare, so whatever is left over gets shredded and put into the freezer for later use in stew. Second, if you’ve priced canned roast beef, my method is actually cheaper. Last, but not least, while I still use the gravy packets, using fresh roast beef is much healthier than the canned stuff. Eventually, I’ll find a replacement for the packaged brown gravy like I found a replacement for taco seasoning and chili mix.
I start by prepping everything. When I know I want to make beef stew, I thaw the meat in the fridge overnight. I peel, wash and then cut the potatoes and carrots. I use a mandoline with a julienne blade so they come out uniform (darn OCD). Then I rinse them again. I put the bacon grease in the pan and cut up the onion and garlic. By the time I’m done, the grease is hot and ready for action!
From there, it’s all about satueeing and simmering!