It is the end of March and still it snows in upstate New York. Most of the snow has melted, it is warm enough outside to start taking walks again but the forecast is still saying snow. I have taken my electric blanket off the bed and put it back on about five times this month. So what is a girl to do?
Beef Stew! I was in desperate need of warming, stick-to-your-ribs food. Meat and potatoes and veggies, oh my!
For Christmas my Humbly bought me a cast iron Dutch Oven. I have not been a big fan of cast iron. It is heavy and shouldn’t be washed with soap. It is the same problem that I have with stoneware. However both are modern miracles. I am converted and believe that the inconvenience is far outweighed by the exceptional food that is produced.
I have made this recipe many times and it is one of my absolute favorites. You dice up your meat and veggies and mix it up with seasonings, wine, diced tomatoes and quick cooking tapioca, yes you read that right. Pop it in the oven and serve with a nice sopping bread. Warm on the inside and outside.
Normally I make this in my Pampered Chef Rectangle Baker covered with aluminum foil and it takes about an hour and a half to get the vegetables nice and hot. This time I did it in my Dutch Oven and it was done in less than an hour and 15 minutes.
Baked Beef Stew
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup red wine or beef broth
3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
2 teaspoons sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1 teaspoon browning sauce, optional
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 pounds lean beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
5 small red potatoes, quartered
4 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks (or half a bag of baby carrots cut in half)
3 celery ribs, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
2 medium onion, cut into chunks
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
1 can peas
In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, water, wine or broth, tapioca, sugar, seasoned salt, browning sauce if desired, marjoram and pepper. Let stand for 15 minutes. Add the meat, potatoes, carrots, celery, onion and bread crumbs.
Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish or a dutch oven. Cover and bake at 375° for 1-1/4 hours. Uncover; stir in peas. Bake 15-20 minutes longer or until meat and vegetables are tender.
Yield: 6-8 servings.