When I was a kid, I was a total book nerd (in all honesty, I’m still a total book nerd, although I no longer have hours and hours to hide with a book, at least not without feeling massive amounts of guilt). When I was 6 or 7, this was my favorite book in the entire universe:
If you’re not familiar with it, it’s about a family of orphaned children who find an abandoned boxcar and adopt it as their home. It was, like, the ultimate in playing house. I relished all the little details–dumpster diving for silverware and then scrubbing the rust off with sand. Building a “swimming pool” in the creek by the boxcar. Making a stew in the woods with beef and some garden vegetables. Looking back, when I read this book, it was the first time I was completely captivated by the story of food and cooking. I had never really eaten stew before (at least not stew that didn’t come from a can), but I was completely taken with this idea of something wholesome and delicious cooked with something practical like baby garden vegetables and some meat bought after a hard day’s work.
A hearty, comforting, and EASY beef stew recipe perfect for cozy nights inside!
- 1 pound baby potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 4-5 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
- 4 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 large or 2 small onions, chopped
- 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups vegetable juice cocktail (like V8 or Bloody Mary Mix)
- 1 10-ounce can condensed tomato soup
- 10 ounces water (just use empty soup can to measure)
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 2 beef bouillon cubes or 2 teaspoons beef base
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2-3 pounds lean beef stew meat, cut into smaller cubes if necessary
Preheat oven to 300 F. Combine all the ingredients in a large Dutch oven or other heavy oven-safe dish with a tight-fitting lid. Cook for 3 hours.
I haven’t had great luck making this in the slow cooker or the pressure cooker–the recipe seems to rely on a little evaporation and when I’ve made it using these methods, the stew ends up a little soupy/watery. I’ll keep working on it and see if I can figure it out!