Tuesday, September 30, 2008
With all the traveling I've had to do lately, as well as my general busy-ness, I have found myself forgetting to submit posts to the weekly Objectivist Roundup sometimes, and I see that I may be late submitting this to the upcoming Carnival of the Recipes. Well, I'm posting it anyway, and I'll shoot Martin Lindeskog an email to see whether he wants any additional entries.
It's been awhile since I've posted a recipe, and this is one I'll make tonight as soon as I post this and print it out. Unlike the others, which I'd at least scribbled onto cards or into a recipe book, I've never actually committed this one to paper.
Instead, I've used as a loose guide, for nearly -- Oh, Lord! -- for over twenty years, a page of a recipe book (pictured) that came with a crock pot my parents gave me when they sent me off to college.
The crock pot is long gone, having been replaced by a newer one Mrs. Van Horn and I got as a wedding present, but the stained, well-worn book remains. I've tried at least half a dozen of its recipes, and, along with this, developed another of my favorites, Chili Van Horn, starting from recipes on its pages.
The recipe book was perfect for launching my cooking hobby: Its recipes were good enough to produce satisfying, confidence-building results, but appealed to a broad-enough audience (read: "were bland enough") to invite some jazzing-up. Spices, buddy! Spices!
This stew recipe is the product of just such an improvisation. It combines elements I liked from an extremely bland recipe ("Slow-Cooker Stew") and a slightly more interesting one ("Old-Fashioned Stew"). But it still needed jazzing up, not to mention corn. And carrots. And I don't like bell peppers. You get the idea.
So, without further ado, I end my practice of using the pages that contain the recipes mainly to jog my memory, and finally write this sucker down!
Since I typically make this recipe over night, one of my favorite things about it is the way the whole house smells when I wake up in the morning! It's easy to make, hearty, and tasty. Also, very importantly for someone as busy as I often am, it makes excellent leftovers.
And if you like this, you can find more of my recipes here, on the right hand side of the page.
One last note, and this is especially directed towards collegians, cooking novices generally, and busy folks looking for short cuts: Don't blow off browning the meat, like I did in college, or it won't be very tender. You're welcome in advance!
2-2 1/2 lb. stew meat
1/3 cup flour
1/8-1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp ground cloves
3 tbsp butter
1 cup water
1 beef bouillon cube
1 large onion, chopped
1/3-1/2 lb baby carrots, chopped
1/3-1/2 lb corn
2 cans Ro-Tel Original
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
- If necessary, cut the stew meat approximately into 1 inch cubes, removing any fat or gristle.
- Dredge the meat my way (the quick, easy, and neat way) as follows: (a) Place flour, pepper, and cloves into a largish Tupperware container and stir together. (b) Add meat and seal with lid. (c) Shake vigorously.
- Melt butter in a skillet, add the dredged meat, and brown. Place the browned meat into the crock pot.
- Pour any drippings into a saucepan and add the water. Bring to a boil and dissolve the bouillon cube. Pour into crock pot.
- Add the remaining ingredients (except the corn starch and cold water) to the crock pot, set to low, and cook for about 6 hours.
- Dissolve the cornstarch in the cold water and stir into the stew after cooking to thicken it.
- Serve with crackers.
Drat! It looks like I'll be making this tomorrow night, after all! More hangover from Hurricane Ike.... Had to empty my refrigerator before I left town, and somehow failed to put cornstarch on my shopping list after I got back.
If it's worth doing -- and it is! -- it's worth doing right.