Tomato-less Rustic Beef Stew (and the frettings of a weird woman on a book tour)
I worked up this recipe especially for my Aunt Sue, who makes the worlds best pound cake but can’t eat tomatoes. How are those two related? Well, beyond me just putting them in a sentence together I reckon that’s about it, but you can get her pound cake recipe in my cookbook ~winks~.
Y’all, I’m nesting. As we get ready for the book tour, I’m having little minor moments of panic. The good news is that they are minor moments of panic as opposed to significant episodes. While I should be focused on the book and the tour, I’m a mother and so with that, you know full well what I’m thinking about. My poor husband is gonna have his work cut out for him. Y’all might wanna pray for this man, he has no idea what he is getting himself into…
His mother (that sainted woman) is going to be over some to help but there will be times in which he is completely on his own- so I’ve set to fretting at warp speed.
Since I can’t run the house and take care of the kids long distance, I’ve taken to worrying about the little things that I can manage ahead of time. Last night I got to thinking about juice boxes. Sometimes we use as many as four a day, one for each lunch and one for each snack (I think it is cool that my kid’s school has snack time).
So I got to fretting over what would happen if Ricky ran out of juice boxes in the morning. With getting two kids ready, he’d hardly have time to go out and buy any and still get the kids to school on time. Even if he did, he might get the ones with sugar in them and then the kids might end up getting in trouble because they were too hyper. Next thing you know my kids are spending time in prison as opposed to college and the shrink eventually traces it all back to their mother going on a book tour and their father introducing additional sugar into their lives to compensate for her absence..this is how my thought process works.
No worries though, I put that fear to rest right away. Bought fifteen cases of juice boxes.
Then, I passed the paper aisle and got to thinking of all of the possible scenarios of us running out of bathroom tissue while I was away – I’ll spare you those, but let me now put your mind at ease by letting you know that we are the proud owners of 100 double rolls of bathroom tissue.
We also have a fully stocked medicine cabinet, each child has new socks, and enough ground beef is cooked and in the freezer to feed an army. Since nothing I send for snacks has to be refrigerated, this afternoon I’m going to go ahead and make sixty snack bags and put them in a laundry basket so they’ll just have to grab and go while I’m away. I’ve even made up treat bags for their Halloween parties at school. Of course, I am supposed to be home then and I’m not sure if they will even have Halloween parties this year but hey - just in case.
These little things are making me feel a little better about leaving them, something that I could never truly feel good about. Still, I’m making headway, getting a few trivial things done to help me rest a bit easier at night and know that I’ve done what I could to look after my babies when I’m not here. I know it will be a lot easier than I expect it to be and once I get on the road time will pass quickly and everyone will be alright. I also know that in the end we’ll even have more appreciation for one another. This is just part of the journey.
I can’t tell you how much it helps to know that I’ll be spending time with some of you, in person, each day that I am gone.
But now the real challenge awaits me: To teach an engineer how to fix ponytails for a five year old….
To make this stew you’re gonna need: Stew meat, carrots, potatoes, pearl onions (you can use regular), Dale’s Sauce* (substitution below), and beef broth.
You’re also gonna need a little flour, some black pepper, Thyme, and salt if you use my substitution for Dale’s Sauce.
If you don’t have thyme, don’t sweat it. Just use Italian Seasoning in it’s place and your stew will have a bit different flavor but still be wonderful. If you are new here you may not realize that I pretty much think you could save the world with a $1 bottle of dry Italian seasoning. I love that stuff. Oh, also, if you are new here, welcome! We sure are glad to have you as part of our family!
~watches as everyone scoots down to make room for another place~
Dale’s Sauce is a marinade available in my neck of the woods but a lot of y’all may not have it near you. If you can get Moore’s Marinade, that’ll work, too. I use the two interchangeably depending on which one is cheapest and I’ve never been able to tell the difference (although I’m sure the Dale’s and Moore’s folks will disagree with that). However, if you can’t get either of them, you can easily whip up my homemade version by using the recipe here.
If you use my recipe, you’ll need to salt your stew a little to taste,because my homemade version isn’t nearly as salty as Dale’s and Moore’s. They give new meaning to the term “salty” so most folks think that is a good thing.
Place your stew meat in a bowl and pour about a cup of flour over it.
Stir it well to coat.
Now place this in a large skillet with a tablespoon or two of oil and cook over medium heat until lightly browned a bit.
We’re not trying to get the meat completely cooked here, just browned. The flour will act as a thickener to our stew as well.
If you decide you want your stew to be even thicker, you can add a few tablespoons of instant potato flakes, one of my favorite thickeners.
There ya go! all ready.
Wash your potatoes and chop them up in whatever way you’re in the mood to.
Cooking is very often about what I’m in the mood for at my house.
Here is where the stew gets it’s “rustic” name. I wasn’t in the mood to peel my potatoes when I did up this recipe so we just leave the skins on, call it rustic, and if we were serving this in a fancy restaurant we could charge double for it just by doing that alone!
This is proof that the world is crazy. Except for Southern Plate folks that is. We just got good horse sense.
Pour your pearl onions over that.
The bag I used had about a cup and a half of them. If you don’t have pearl onions don’t worry about going out and buying them. I make this a lot using just a chopped up vidalia. Whatever you have on hand is fine.
Peel and chop up your carrots a bit and add those.
Add your stew meat and pour in your beef broth.
Pour in your marinade (Dale’s, Moore’s, Christy’s
Bless it’s heart, this is an ugly little herb. As my grandmother would say “God love it”.
and your pepper.
Now cover and cook on low 7-8 hours or high 3-4 hours.
Every time I see the end shot of a good meal I go all Doctor Seuss..
Yum diddy dum dum yum yum YUM!
“I like flaws and feel more comfortable around people who have them.
I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.”
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