Confession time: I didn’t like stew as a child. I was more about soup. But now I loooooove stew. Especially when it’s cold out. OMG yes. Here’s a pretty basic recipe that you can make on the stovetop if you have an hour or two until dinner. If you have longer, go ahead and assemble in a crockpot and let it go all day.
3 pounds chuck or stew meat
3 cloves garlic
4 ribs of celery
4 cups beef stock
3 bay leaves
Get yourself a nice piece of chuck and cut it up into large bite size pieces. You could go ahead and buy pre-cut stew meat if you like, but I really like slicing up my own meat if I can. Honestly, I actually use more like 4 pounds of meat because I like it so much, but you can get by with 3 pounds.
Rough chop your onions and peel your garlic. Throw those in a large pot with some heated oil. Once the onions start to go translucent, add in your meat and start cooking that up. When the meat is browned, add the rest of your veggies that have been rough chopped and season with salt and pepper. Add your beef broth, bay leaves, and a good heavy squirt or 3 of ketchup. Cover your pot and let it simmer for at least an hour. Give it two if you have it to spare. If you’re doing this in a crockpot, try low for 6-8 hours. Note: you could use less broth, but I really like a juicy stew.
Once your stew is sufficiently simmered, thicken up that juiciness with some corn starch slurry. Not sure what a corn starch slurry is? Mix equal parts of corn starch and water in a bowl until there are no lumps. You really don’t have to measure this out though – just put some corn starch in a bowl and add a little water. Use your finger to mix it up. Add this slurry to your saucy bits and let it simmer to thicken all good and proper.
Now get that stew into a bowl and enjoy it on a rug in front of the fire with some sexy music going. Or just, you know, eat it where you want. Whatever. I won’t judge.