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Beef Stew

Traditional beef stew is one of those classic, winter day warm-up meals.  Stew does not need to be complicated, but it does need a few hours to sit on the stove.  Searing the beef before putting the stew together brings out the flavour of the meat and it starts the flavour base for the stew. Add whatever veggies  you have on hand like turnip, parsnip or squash. I find the classic veggies do it best for this recipe. Don't cut your veggies too small, or they will over-cook as the stew simmers. 
Ingredients:

2 tbsp of olive oil
4 strips of bacon, sliced into slivers (optional)
1 lb of stewing beef (or more if you're making a large stew)
1 large onion, cut in half then into slices
3 large carrots, peeled and cut on the diagonal 1/2 inch thick slices
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp of flour
3 large russet potatoes
Beef broth (2 or more cups, depending on the size of pot you're using)
Salt and pepper
Few pinches each of: dried thyme, basil, oregano, garlic powder

Directions:

Step 1: 
To begin, prepare your meat. Take each piece of stewing meat and pat dry on a piece of paper towel, to remove any excess liquid. Do with the remaining pieces, then season everything with salt and pepper. Set aside until use. 

Step 2: In a large, heavy (preferably cast iron, dutch oven), over medium-hi heat add the olive oil, let it heat up then add the slices of bacon. Fry until almost crispy. Remove bacon to a bowl with paper towel. Scoop out some of the bacon fat, reserve in a bowl. 

Step 3:
 Add the beef to the hot pan. Sear the meat 2-3 minutes and then flip. Meanwhile, in a large pot of water, add the potatoes and bring to a boil. Parboil for 6-8 minutes. Drain and and cut the potatoes in chunks; reserve until use. 

Step 4: In a medium pot, over medium heat, add the beef broth. Keep the broth heated until use (next step). 

Step 5: After all the meat has been seared, add onions and saute with the beef for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the potatoes and carrots. Mix around and sprinkle the flour over the meat and the veggies. Pour in the heated beef broth, mixing about. Make sure all the ingredients are covered with the broth. Add more as needed. Add the herbes and seasonings. Add the reserved bacon if using. 

Step 6:Let the stew simmer on med-low for 2 hours or more. The longer you cook the stew, the more tender the meat will be.
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