As with most recipes I’ve featured during the Pantry and Freezer Challenge, I often use this Beef stew recipe. I do have several types of recipes that I like to use for this dish, but this one is by far the simplest and takes the least amount of effort. It is a very economical dish too and for about 2kg of stewing beef I can make at least 10 servings each for 2 adults. A meat dish doesn’t really get any cheaper than that!
How to choose the right cuts of meat
There are always plenty of specials on stewing meat at both supermarkets and butcheries. When choosing where to buy, or what cut of meat to buy, I find that the usually cheaper cut of beef Shin has the most flavour and tends to be the juiciest and softest when cooked. I also prefer to choose packets of meat that I can see have recently been cut and packaged (as opposed to thawed) and those that have the richest, reddest colour to it (never pale red or with a greyish tinge to it).
The meat should have some fat on it as this is what helps give the beef stew its flavour, but you don’t want it to have too much fat, so choose as best as you can according to what you can afford. I’ve never in my life bought beef fillet and tried to make stew with it precisely because it has no fat on it, and even if I could afford it I’d still think it would be a waste of money trying to cook beef stew with it, to be quite honest! Cheaper cuts of meat stewed for several hours are soft, tender and juicy and never chewy.
2 kg Stewing Beef, cut into 3-4 cm cubes
4 Onions, finely chopped
2 Carrots, grated or thinly sliced
2 tins Tomato & Onion mix
2 tins Whole Tomatoes
(You can substitute both tomato & onion mix and whole tomato tins with the same amount of homemade Tomato Sauce).
2 Sachets Tomato Puree
2 Sachets Spicy Beef Goulash spices
(You can substitute this with 3 Tsp. Paprika, 2 Tbsp. Aromat, 2 Tsp. Crushed Chillies or Cayenne Pepper, 2 Beef stock cubes, 2 Tbsp. Meat Spice)
½ mug Sunflower Oil
Royco Beef Stew mix to thicken, and for extra flavour
(You can use Maizena or Cake Flour to thicken instead)
Salt and Pepper to taste
For this amount of stewing beef you will need to use a large pot or you can split all the ingredients above and cook the beef stew in 2 smaller pots at the same time.
Place the stewing beef on a large oven tray and brown the meat in a pre-heated oven at 180 C°. The meat should be done in about 20-25 minutes. You might need to turn the meat over once or twice during this time. The meat will release its own rich gravy which will add to the flavour of the beef stew.
Heat the oil in a large cooking pot and sauté the onions. Add the grated carrots and sauté for a few more minutes. Add the meat with all the gravy to the pot, mix well and continue to fry on high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Then add the tomato & onion mix, whole tomatoes, tomato puree and all the spices. Continue to fry on high heat for another 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add as much hot water as you’d like to have and don’t worry that the whole mixture seems very diluted at this stage – it will thicken as it continues to cook. Bring the stew to the boil then reduce heat to moderate and allow the stew to simmer for about 3 hours. You will probably need to top up with water every now and then but be sure to use hot water to do that.
Use the Royco Beef Stew mix to thicken, following the instructions on the packaging. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve the beef stew with your choice of staples and vegetables. This recipe will freeze well. Enjoy!
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