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Author Notes: Can't mess with Momma's beef stew, a family classic.
(This is a dish my mother throws together quickly in the morning and lets cook until tender, leaving the pot on the stove until dinner even after the flame is turned off. That said, she used some non-homemade pantry items to save time, namely Classico Tomato and Basil tomato sauce, canned whole potatoes, and frozen mixed veggies, all of which can be substituted with homemade versions if available. See notes at end of recipe for substitutions) —Jr0717
- 3 pounds beef stew meat/beef sirloin (or other cut with appreciable fat, cut into 2'' cubes)
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced, or approximately 3-4 cloves minced
- 1.25 cups Classico Tomato and Basil*, or homemade tomato sauce
- 2 cans whole potatoes (or approximately 7 small potatoes, cooked almost completely through and cut into 2'' chunks)
- 1.25 cups frozen mixed vegetables (or 1/2'' dice of your favorite/leftover veggies, cooked al dente)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2-3 beef soup bones (optional)
- Heat approximately two turns of vegetable oil in the bottom of a large, heavy-bottomed cast iron pot, and sauté the onion and garlic until they begin to soften.
- Add the beef stew meat and brown slightly on all sides. When the majority of the meat has been browned and some of the fat has rendered out, add 1/4 cup of the Classico/tomato sauce, and cook until reduced slightly, about three minutes. Stir all ingredients in the pot so far to get the flavors mingling.
- When the Classico/tomato sauce has thickened slightly, season the mixture with salt and pepper (starting with about 2 teaspoons of each - more can be added later) and add the remainder of the Classico/tomato sauce and the soup bones.
- Add water just until the meat is barely covered and the liquid is a murky red. Add more Classico/tomato sauce if necessary, and make sure that all ingredients are combined well. Bring the mixture to a slight boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover. Cook over am medium flame until the meat is tender, approximately 2 hours.
- When the meat is tender and beginning to flake and shred, add the potatoes and vegetables, and taste the liquid for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper if necessary.
- Cook, lid on, until the potatoes are heated through and the meat is fork-tender. Serve over white rice, polenta, or with egg noodles.
- *Classico substitute: In a medium saucepan, sweat 1/2 diced onion, 2 cloves minced garlic until soft; add 1 can tomato paste, 1 can chunky tomato sauce (or stewed tomatoes, broken up slightly), and 2 teaspoons dried basil, parsley, and oregano. Simmer for approximately 20 minutes. Recipe can be increased as necessary, and please note that all measurements are approximate!