By Greg Atkinson
When folks made beef stew before World War II, all the ingredients were organic by default; agricultural chemicals were rare and expensive. And beef ranchers seldom finished their animals on expensive grain; instead, all the beef was grass finished. Now, older folks complain that modern foods don't have the flavor of the stuff they remember from childhood. Mountain Beef with its clean grass finished flavor brings back the old-time flavor. It's important when selecting the vegetables for this stew, to choose the darkest most colorful carrots, and the sweetest frozen peas, organic ingredients are your best bet.
INGREDIENTS (Serves 4)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
1 pound Mountain beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 cups carrots, peeled and sliced
2 cups celery, sliced
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 quart (4 cups) organic beef broth
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons, or to taste, kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound red potatoes
2 cups (about 1/4 pound) sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 cups frozen sweet peas
1/4 cups parsley, finely chopped
1.) Put the olive oil and butter in a very large pot over medium-high heat and stir until the butter is melted and sizzling hot. Stir in the flour and continue stirring as the mixture foams up. Keep stirring the roux over medium-high heat until the foam subsides and the mixture is uniformly nut-brown colored. This will take about 15 minutes.
2.) Stir the beef into the roux and cook, stirring regularly until the beef is browned on every side, about 5 minutes. Stir in the carrots, celery and onion and cook for one or two minutes longer to heat the vegetables through. Stir in the beef broth and the chopped garlic and cook the stew over medium heat, stirring every few minutes to prevent sticking for 45 minutes.
3.) Wash and cut the potatoes into 1-inch cubes and stir the cut potatoes into the stew. Continue cooking until the potatoes and the beef are tender, about 30 minutes. Slice the mushrooms and stir them into the stew.
4.) When the mushrooms have taken up enough of the broth to sink into the stew, turn off the heat and stir the parsley and peas into the stew. As soon as the peas are heated through, the stew is ready to serve.