Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Granny's Stew

When it comes to my cooking, my friend Rob says, "If it's got 'Granny' in the name I'm eating it!"
My Granny was an amazing cook. I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with her, watching, washing and cutting. She'd tell me stories as she casually tossed foods together and created amazing dishes.

She never measured and I don't either. So be prepared for that when you see a header with "Granny" in it. But try her recipes. They're easy and they're sooo good.

It's been raining here. So I've been braising meat. When it rains I make pot roasts, soups, stews. Anything I can cook low and slow until the meat falls apart. Braising warms the house and transforms an ugly storm outside into a cozy day inside. And yesterday, I made Granny's Stew.

1. Buy a tough cut of beef. Chuck roast or a seven blade roast. Or purchase stew meat. Sometimes markets will cube it up and sell it in packs. These cuts are inexpensive and the longer you let them cook, the more they fall apart.

2. Cube up your meat. If it's already cubed, liberally apply kosher salt and pepper.

3. Pour olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot. Heat it medium high on the stove.

4. Drop in the meat.

5. Brown it on all sides.

6. Meanwhile dice an onion. They can be big chunks, like the size of the meat.

7. Take the meat out and set it aside.

8. Add a little more olive oil if necessary. Drop the onions in the pot. Scrape the meaty bits off the bottom.

9. When onions start to get soft, add two chopped garlic cloves, salt, pepper and oregano.

10. Make sure garlic does not brown. Just let it soften.

11. Put the meat back in the pot.

12. Add enough diced canned tomatoes to cover the meat.

13. Drop in a bay leaf and some red pepper flakes.

14. Cover and cook on low heat for two hours. Stir once in a while.

15. After two hours, dice up potatoes and carrots. Drop them in the pot. Cover the pot. Let it cook on low for another 45 minutes or until potatoes and carrots slide off a fork when pricked.

16. Turn off heat. Add a can of peas with liquid. Stir and let stew sit for 10 minutes.

17. Serve with crusty bread.

Mmm. Just like Granny's. Next time it rains, give it a try.

NOTE: One pot meals are an excellent way to make a lot of food without spending much money. For example, I made enough stew to feed four people. Roughly, I used $6 worth of stew meat, 3 carrots - maybe $1, one potato - add another buck, one can organic peas - $1.19 and one can organic diced tomatoes - $1.49. So, for $10.68 you could not only warm up your house with the delicious aroma of stew, but feed your family dinner too.

What do you like to cook when it rains?



  1. MMMMmm... sounds good. I do a similar soup with meatballs instead of beef and add zucchini with the carrots. Sometimes throw in some pre-made gnocchi instead of the potatoes but it depends on what I have in the house. I love being in a warm house with it cooking on a cold, stormy day.

  2. Mmm. Sarah, that sounds so good! I love the idea of using meatballs. I may have to try that soon. Thanks for posting!

  3. I also love to make stews and soups in this weather. I recently got a Le Creuset dutch oven (a big, heavy cast iron pot that's ovenproof) and it's the perfect vessel for stews. It's great for browning meat. And you can even store the leftovers in it in the fridge, then take it right out and heat it up on the stove.

    Oh, and I love to make stews with red wine! Just replace some of the liquid with half a bottle of Burgundy or Cabernet. Gives it a nice kick.

  4. Soups and stews are the way to get through the winter around here. Sounds good to me.
    I usually have lots of frozen vegies from the garden to "throw" in. And I agree with Sara, what goes in the soup often depends on what is in the fridge! and somehow it comes out great.

  5. I cook mostly in my crock-pot, so when it's cold (which is always is in MT) I cook a lot of stews and soups. Lately, I've been making a potato-bacon soup that my family really likes. Good way to use up a bunch of potatoes!

    Your Granny Stew looks yummy!

  6. Mmm, Granny's stew is sounding so good! I wish I cooked real recipes more. I cook, but Angie Style. It starts with garlic and onion and whatever veggies are available plus some spice. I like it, but I think I'm the only one. :)

  7. Suzie - I made Granny's Stew this weekend. So yummy!!!

  8. Professional Bridesmaid - I love that you made Granny Stew this weekend! So glad you liked it! : )