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Old Town Beef Stew



Serves: 8

This is a stew for the purist. It is not confused with the usual “vegetable stew”. When it is well made the result should be beautifully brown gravy containing tender pieces of meat, whole small onions and mushrooms.

3 pounds grassfed beef stew meat cut in chunks or cubes
Shortening (or half olive oil and half butter)
Salt and peppers
2 cloves garlic, sliced
30 to 35 small pearl onions, peeled
30-35 fresh mushroom caps

Salt and pepper meat well. Dredge in flour making sure that all sides are well coated.Brown meat well in shortening in a heavy pot along with one sliced clove of garlic. When the meat is richly brown, add enough water to cover the meat.

Add the second clove of garlic—or more if you desire—and a small amount of cayenne. (Careful, too much and everyone will know it.) Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 1½ to 2 hours.

Correct seasoning with salt and peppers and add pearl onions, cooking until the onions are tender but still whole. During the last 10 minutes stir in the mushroom caps from which the stems have been removed. (The removal of stems is purely for visual effect. Leave them on if you want.)A little water may be added at this point or during cooking to increase the liquid volume slightly. The rich brown gravy is imperative.

The stew should be served with potatoes, preferably mashed with a hand masher and enriched with milk or powdered milk, salt and pepper. It can also be served with noodles.

This stew freezes well and its flavor improves if made one day and served the next.

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