Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Oven Stew

My mom used to make a wonderful beef stew. She would brown the meat, then add all the veggies, some liquid and let it simmer away on the stove for a couple of hours. She'd do a flour and water paste to make the gravy. Sometimes, when it was almost done, she made dumplings to go on top. The stew was delicious, but I hated the doughy dumplings and the little pieces of soggy dough that would inevitably find its way onto my plate. I much preferred to have homemade buns/bread or baking powder biscuits with my stew. We compromised and she would set aside a serving of the stew in a small pot or an oven dish for me, before she added the dumplings. When she did that, I would make a batch of baking powder biscuits to also go with the stew.

I was never very good at making stew and especially at making any type of gravy. Then, a few years ago my sister told me about a very simple oven stew recipe she had found. It did have one strange ingredient though - soya sauce! Are you kidding me? I thought it sounded disgusting but she assured me that if you use light soya sauce, then you really wouldn't taste it. Okay, what the heck - I'll try it.

She was right of course - it was delicious. Naturally I have done a little tweaking of her recipe. Hers used parsnips which I am not a fan of. I eliminated them and just topped up the potatoes and carrots to make up the difference in quantity. The other thing that I did was add stewed tomatoes and cut back slightly on the stock. I just like a bit of tomato flavour in my stew!


1 onion, chopped (about 1 - 1 1/2 cups)
1 - 1 1/4 lb. beef stew meat, fat removed or eye of the round steak which has less gristle and fat - cut into bite size pieces
2 Tablespoons LIGHT soya sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 Tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups salt reduced beef broth
1 cup crushed stewed tomatoes
6 cups cubed potatoes, bite sized
4 cups cubed carrots, bite sized
3/4 cups chopped celery

- Evenly layer onions in bottom of a roaster or dutch oven.
- Place meat evenly on top of onions.
- Sprinkle soya sauce over meat.
- Combine salt, pepper, paprika and flour and sprinkle on top of meat.
- Pour broth and tomatoes evenly over top.
- Cover and bake in 350F oven for 1 hour.
- Add veggies, stir gently to coat. Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes to one hour or until veggies are tender.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Serve with a salad and home made biscuits.

Notes: Soya sauce may seem like a strange ingredient but you can not taste it in end product. Light soya sauce is sodium reduced - if you use regular soya sauce it will be too salty unless you use just a dash of salt with dry ingredients. This stew freezes fairly well. Potato texture will change slightly but still quite edible and tasty.

Variation: Substitute boneless, skinless, chicken breast and salt reduced chicken broth for stew beef and beef broth. Follow directions as above.



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