The Pantry: Beef Stew over Basmati Rice

Given the sheer number of cold days we’ve had around here– the recent sixty degree temperatures notwithstanding (you’re not fooling me, Mother Nature)– I thought I should share another comfort food recipe.  Next to grilled cheese and tomato soup, beef stew is most certainly one of the most warming comfort foods of which I can think.

Despite the fact that it’s primarily made in the crock pot, this particular stew has excellent texture and isn’t mushy at all.  Therefore, if you’re anti- crock pot, you might want to give this one some consideration.

Like most crock pot meals, though, you can prepare this one in the morning and finish it up right before dinner time.  I’ll give you the times that I did each step, so you can have an idea of what I’m talking about.

Beef Stew over Basmati Rice

Ingredients:

1-1/2 lb cubed stew beef

3 tbsp flour

2 tsp seasoned salt

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper, divided

2 tbsp butter, divided

1 tbsp olive oil

1 pkg McCormick’s beef stew seasoning

3 cups water

1 cup white wine -or- beer -or- red wine

2 medium yellow onions, sliced

4 cloves (NOT bulbs) garlic, sliced

1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained

4 medium carrots, peeled & sliced

3 medium russet potatoes, peeled & cubed

4 cups prepared Basmati rice (I use Uncle Ben’s microwaveable rice)

Instructions:

1.  In a large sip-top bag, mix together the flour, seasoned salt, salt, and 3/4 tsp pepper.  *8:47 am*

Take the meat–our grocer just calls it “Beef for Stew,” but you can use chuck roast–

and add it to the zip-top bag full of seasoned flour.  Give it a good shake.

2.  In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon butter and olive oil over medium high heat.  Add meat to the hot pan.

You may have to do it in a couple of batches because you don’t want to crowd your pan.  Allow the meat to caramelize, then flip it until that side is browned.  It takes about two minutes per side.  Remove the beef from a pan, and set it aside.

3.  In a large measuring cup, mix the water and wine (or beer) with the seasoning packet.  I had white wine on hand.  If I’d had it, I’d have used either beer or red wine, but we were out of beer, and we rarely drink red wine. Not that we drink white wine often or any alcohol.  Seriously.  We have had the same bottle of bourbon in the ‘fridge for almost a year.

4.  To the crock pot, add the beef, sliced onions, and garlic.  Pour the seasoned liquid over the mixture.  Set the crock  pot on low, and forget it for a while.  The meat takes 6-8 hours to cook on low.  It would probably take about 4-6 on high, but I’ve never ever used the high setting on my crock pot before, so I’m not going to swear to that one.

I kept opening my crock pot up so that I could show you what it looked like as time passed by.  You totally shouldn’t do that, though because you’ll lose a ton of heat that way. So, as I’ve said before, don’t be like me.

*9:11 am*  This is what it looked like when I turned on the crock pot.

*10:13 am*  Here we are an hour later.

*11:52 am* Now you’ve got an hour and a half later.

*2:15 pm* And an hour and twenty minutes later.  It’s at this point that you add the canned tomatoes, juice and all.

4.   A little explanation about this part.  I don’t like mushy meat and veggies, and I really, really don’t like the way potatoes and carrots turn brown when they’re cooked with the beef. Not to mention the fact that the vegetables don’t taste like themselves, they taste like beef.   I get around this by steaming my potatoes and carrots.

About seven hours after I turned on the crock pot, I started peeling and chopping up my potatoes and carrots.

*4:15 pm*  Fill a steamer basket (if you have one) with the carrots, potatoes, a tablespoon of butter, and 1/4 tsp of pepper.

If you don’t have a steamer basket, I’d fill a large pot with simmering water, set a heat-proof colander on top, put the veggies et al. in the colander, and cover it with a lid.  Have I ever done that?  No, I’ve had a steamer for the last ten years.  Let me know if it works, though.

*4:58 pm*  Despite that this photo was taken 40 minutes later, I only steamed these for around 25-30 minutes.

5.  Heat up your rice.  I use the microwavable kind that comes in the little orange bag.  It takes ninety seconds, and comes out perfectly.

6.  Mix the vegetables with the stew in the crock pot.  Serve it over the rice.  If you like a thick sauce, you can thicken it with a little flour.

*5:04 pm* Dinner was served.

Yield: 8-10 servings; freeze in single serving potions what you don’t eat.  It reheats well.

Oh, yeah.  Remember to turn your crock pot off.  Again…don’t be like me.

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