Thursday, May 4, 2017

Beef and Sweet Potato Stew

Beef and Sweet Potato Stew - made April 15, 2017
I originally intended to make this in my crock pot. I had a 5-quart one but my niece appropriated it when she moved out and I haven’t seen it since. Which was okay by me as it always seemed a little too big and whenever I made something in it, I seemed to be eating the same thing for days on end. So I bought myself a little 2-quart one. That seemed like the perfect size to make meals for one that would last a few days rather than a few weeks.
Except I didn’t realize until I started making this stew that most recipes make amounts that are too much for a little 2-quart crockpot to fit into. So I ended up making this in a large saucepan. It still worked although I did end up boiling it for awhile until the beef was tender.
I don’t usually have good luck with beef dishes. I never know what cut of meat to get, I always forget the right way to cut it (against the grain, along the grain, what’s “grain” nomenclature doing with meat anyway??), I never know how long to cook it and it either dries out or stays tough. Fortunately though, it turns out the cooking gods decided to cut me a break and didn’t torment me for this one. I still didn’t know how to cut it and I ended up adding more beef broth and water than the recipe called for since I let the stew keep boiling until the meat was tender. But the good news is the meat actually ended up tender after I had boiled, I mean, simmered, it long enough.
The mistake I made – you know there had to be at least one – was I added the sweet potatoes too soon and so they boiled right along with the beef until by the time the meat was tender, the sweet potatoes were no longer distinguishable cubes but sweet potato mush if you stirred the stew and looked at it wrong. So the pictures don’t look that great but the stew was actually quite tasty. It looks a little dry and you can add more beef broth if you want a more soupy stew but I thought it was fine.
And would you believe I made up the recipe? I tried to follow one of the stew recipes I had on my pinterest board but I was missing at least one spice called for in each of the pinned recipes. Which, by the way, was really hard to believe considering how much I had stocked up my spice rack. I mean, c’mon, I never even kept a spice rack before of spices I actually used instead of shoving in a drawer until I forgot about them. There’s that Penzey’s allegiance again. Fortunately, stew is a very forgiving dish so even if you don’t have all of these spices, feel free to experiment and throw in some of your own favorite spices and see how it turns out.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 pounds beef chuck roast, cut into chunks
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon English prime rib rub
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
4 whole cloves
3 whole bay leaves
3 cups beef broth
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  1. Heat large pot with olive oil. Saute chopped onion and garlic until onion is soft and garlic is lightly browned. Add beef and sear until sides are brown but not cooked through.
  2. Add paprika, English prime rib rub, pepper, oregano, cloves, beef broth and sweet potatoes. Bring to a low simmer and add bay leaves. Simmer on medium-low heat until beef is tender.

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