Here’s the deal: there’s a million ways to dress up beef stew: Change the vegetables. Add spices. Use lager or beer for the broth. Brown the meat first. Add Italian Salad Dressing (seriously). Add flour (or cornstarch…or arrowroot) to thicken. Use red wine for the broth.
But before you get fancy, I think it is a good idea to have a grasp on just what it is you’re working with. So here’s a very basic beef stew. It is fine as-is, it would even be fine with fewer ingredients, but it is also great with some additions.
Consider this a canvas.
1lb cubed stew meat (the more marbled the better)
1/2 bag of 16oz frozen green beans (or 1 can, drained)
1/2bag of 16oz frozen corn (or 1 can, drained)
4 carrots, chopped
3 potatoes, cubed (Skinned or not, your call)
4 stalks celery, chopped
3 cans v8 juice–or most of a large can.
1 recipe beef gravy, below (or purchase two jars pre-made…if using pre-made, add one chopped onion to recipe)
pinch kosher salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste
Grease interior of a crock pot (5+qt size). Add all ingredients including gravy. Stir. Make sure vegetables and meat are covered with liquid. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
1 onion, minced
3 cubes beef bullion
1/4 cup flour
DIRECTIONS...saute onion in butter; at the same time, mix bullion in 1.5 cups hot water. When onion is translucent, add the bullion mixture to the saute onion and add flour. Stir frequently to keep from burning and evenly cook flour for at least two minutes when the gravy has started to thicken. (if flour is not well-cooked it will be easily tasted).