Not Martha

it’s 10 a.m. and I’m making stew

This week I have to make sure I’m around to receive something COD arriving via UPS. (I know, COD? What is that?) So I decided that while I’m stuck here all day I might as well cook something in the crock pot. I looked up a few stew recipes and they were not at all what I remember my dad making when I was a kid. The recipes I looked at called for browning the meat and sauteeing some onions and adding a bunch of spices. My dad would throw some peeled but not chopped onions, meat, water, a little bit of a flavoring paste (like this one but made locally and fantastically delicious, it’s on my Cleveland shopping list) in the crock pot, set it to low, and go off to work. He would have some whole carrots, potatoes and roughly chopped celery that I would stick into the pot when I’d get home from school and turn the crock pot to high. By the time parental units were home from work dinner was ready, and it was delicious. I remember loving how the onions would spill out smaller and smaller onion layers when you squeezed them with a fork. Every once in a while he would quarter a large turnip and cook it with the meat all day and try to convince the family it was potato. After being cooked all that time it wasn’t bad, but we weren’t fooled.

So I decided to see if I could make direction-less stew on my own. I peeled some pearl onions this morning and tossed them into my crock pot with some beef labeled “stew meat” from the store. I have carrots, celery and fingerling potatoes to add later. I also mixed together the makings for some no-knead bread last night before I went to bed. I’m really looking forward to dinner.

· comments [19] · 11-14-2007 · categories:food ·

19 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ryan // Nov 14, 2007 at 11:11 am

    Sounds yummy… “Parental Units” HA! Enjoy your dinner.

  • 2 debra // Nov 14, 2007 at 11:24 am

    Hi, I made a stew in my crockpot just last weekend.
    I put salt, pepper, chilipowder, and a touch of cinnamon in flour that I covered the beefcubes with before browning. I then use the tasty bits to make a roux-butter/flour-adding apple cider vinegar, dark chocolate, and h2o, thickening then add to crockpot with beef, carrots, onions and potatoes. Oh yeah this time I sweated the onions a bit and put them in the crockpot before searing the beef.

  • 3 mjoe // Nov 14, 2007 at 11:30 am

    Hi there, I read regularly but comment infrequently. I am very very intrigued with the idea of dinner being ready when I, the parental unit, get home. But I’m just now, in my early 30s, finally learning to cook meat and wondering if someoen can point me to some reeeeeeeeeeeallly basic instructions. “Stew for Dummies” maybe? I don’t have a crockpot but I have a very fancy rice cooker which is supposed to work like a crockpot. What to do?

  • 4 megan // Nov 14, 2007 at 11:51 am

    mjoe – I’ll let you know if what I’m doing turns out.

  • 5 lekkercraft // Nov 14, 2007 at 11:55 am

    I’m having almost the same meal tonight! I mixed up the no-knead bread (the quick version) this morning and it’s rising while I’m at work. I bought the fixings for a lentil soup recipe from Karin Eriksson via Design Sponge. I’ve never made my own bread before, so I’m crossing my fingers it turns out.

  • 6 Carrie // Nov 14, 2007 at 11:55 am

    Do you have any tricks for peeling pearl onions? I also used them in a stew recently, and it took so darn long for me to peel them all, I swore I’d never use them again. I don’t know if they were harder to peel than regular onions, or if it’s just that they’re small, but they seriously tried my patience. Either way, thanks!

  • 7 Amanda // Nov 14, 2007 at 12:23 pm

    If you blanch the onions and toss them into cold water it makes theme easier to peel.

  • 8 leanne // Nov 14, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    carrie – for stews, soups, or even roasts, I use frozen pearl onions from the grocery. They’re already peeled and they taste perfect in stews. There might be tricks to peeling those small suckers, but it can’t be faster than pouring out the bag of frozen onions!

  • 9 megan // Nov 14, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    Carrie – I’ve blanched and peeled before, like Amanda describes. It was easier, but damp and messy.

  • 10 C // Nov 14, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    oooh! I didn’t think to look in the freezer section pearl onions. Thanks for the heads up
    ***funny, I started crock pot beef stew for us this morning as well. Must be the Seattle weather.***

  • 11 V // Nov 14, 2007 at 4:18 pm

    Do let us know how it turns out. It’s definitely stew weather and I could use a good crock pot recipe. :)

  • 12 Melissa A. // Nov 14, 2007 at 4:35 pm

    I never liked stew growing up. I think it was just the flavour of the broth, and the mushiness of everything. My mother put turnip in hers (which I like raw) and dumplings. The dumplings especially freaked me out :P In later years I would sometimes eat the meat only. I liked how it pulled apart easily. Now I mostly only eat fish but this post has inspired me to make stew, if I can find some organic stew meat.

  • 13 melissa // Nov 14, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    You’re too young to have the same crockpot I have!! I got mine as a wedding present 25 years ago! Just had to comment! Hope your stew was good!

  • 14 Celeste // Nov 14, 2007 at 6:59 pm

    What’s your locally-made Cleveland flavor paste called? I grew up in Cleveland–and mom AND in-laws are still there, so I’m there every holiday. I use Better than Boullion all the time but would love to try something new!

  • 15 Anne P. // Nov 14, 2007 at 7:49 pm

    I both a mom and a business owner. I get home from work well after the dinner hour, so crockpots are my life! Here’s my super easy “comfort” stew recipe:

    Layer ingredients in your crockpot in this order: a couple of handfulls of baby carrots, a few celery stalks (cut into 2″ pieces), a few small red potatoes (quartered), a couple of onions (quartered), some chopped garlic, 1 bay leaf, 5 tsp. Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp. each thyme & basil, 1/2 tsp. pepper,2# stew meat,
    4 cubes beef boullion, 1 can (14oz.) undrained diced tomatoes, 2 cups water. Set your crockpot on low and dinner will be ready in 8-9 hours. YUM!

    I’m in New Mexico, so Green Chile Stew is another of my crockpot staples. Also, did you know you can make AMAZING fajitas in a slow cooker? Very cool.

  • 16 megan // Nov 14, 2007 at 8:30 pm

    Melissa – I bought this one at a thrift shop and I love it, you have one good crock pot :)

    Anne – Thanks so much for the recipe!

    Celeste – Tragically, I cannot remember, I spent some time today trying to track it down but I think a phone call to the parents is in order here. I do remember the company that made it was bought by a larger company and my parents were afraid it would change and become very salty. Not sure if it changed for the worse, however.

  • 17 Nicole // Nov 15, 2007 at 5:42 am

    Are you talking about Minor’s soup base? They were purchased by Nestle. They have a website

  • 18 dina bennett // Nov 15, 2007 at 9:13 am

    I never use “stewing beef”, it’s always full of fatty bits and cartilage. Cut up a roast and use it for two stews – one for now, and one in batches for the freezer.

  • 19 mjoe // Nov 15, 2007 at 11:58 am

    Thank you Anne P! If you’d like to share your green chile and fajita recipes, I’d be so happy… (Tho there’s no chance in hell the kid will eat green chile anything, at least I would enjoy.)

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