Easy Cowboy Beef Stew
This recipe is an easy, comforting meal that illustrates a very important cooking principle: meat browning. Jerica has learned this technique and uses it to bring out the delicious, meaty flavor of grass-fed beef, pastured pork, and pastured chicken.
My version utilizes grass-fed stew beef, but you can chop up any kind of roast and substitute it. Feel free to add any stew-like veggies that you enjoy, such as carrots, celery, etc. The flour serves as a thickener for the final gravy, but can be omitted to make the recipe gluten-free.
Step 1: Get a cute little helper in the kitchen to assist you in making big messes.
Step 2: Mix up some dredging flour: 1 cup flour, 1 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp black pepper. Add additional seasonings as desired, and place all in a large ziplock bag. When you get done making this recipe, seal the bag and keep it in the freezer for next time. This makes clean-up much easier and doesn’t waste any flour.
Now on to the recipe…
2 lbs beef stew meat or other cubed roast
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4-6 pounds of white potatoes, cubed (about 4 large)
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1.5 Cups heavy cream, sour cream, or full-fat yogurt (we like sour cream the best!)
fat for frying (see Uses for Ribs)
If desired, rinse and pat meat dry. Dredge stew meat in flour in small batches.
Melt 2 Tbs lard or tallow in heavy cast iron Dutch oven over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic in fat for a few minutes, until golden and tender. Remove and set aside.
Allow any water in pan to boil off before adding meat. Add more cooking fat if necessary to keep the pan well-coated.
Add small batches of dredged stew meat and brown thoroughly, stirring occasionally.
Note: The most effective browning takes place at a minimum of 300 degrees, and too much water will cause your pan temperature to drop to boiling temperature, 212 degrees. Keeping small batches of meat allows the water to evaporate quickly so browning can occur efficiently.
Remove batches as necessary and complete browning of all meat. Once browning is complete, return all meat, potatoes, and onion mixture to pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir to mix.