A good stew accomplishes two things, in my world. For one, it stretches out some very expensive grass-fed beef. Perhaps more importantly, though, it allows me to cram whatever vegetables that need eating into a one pot meal filled with delicious, beefy gravy.
But y’all, I just can’t eat another summer squash. Not today and maybe not even tomorrow. Our Tatume squash have been quite prolific this summer, even in our hot and dry Texas summer. And so we have been eating them every single day. They would have made a great addition to this stew, had I not been suffering from zucchini burn out.
So I let the other vegetables do the talking – carrots, green beans, and mushrooms. Enhancing the beef and vegetables with herbs and last year’s canned tomatoes is always a must. Finally, I add my secret beef stew ingredients – paprika and butter.
There are two certainties about a long-simmered stew. The first is that the longer it cooks, or rests, the better it tastes. The second is that you should take photos of the pretty ingredients as you go. The final dish isn’t nearly as photogenic.
Beef Stew with Mushrooms and Summer Vegetables
- 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
- 2 medium onions, halved and sliced
- 1/4 cup lard or tallow, or more as needed
- 1 pound grass-fed beef stew meat, cut into 1/2 inch chunks (where to find grass-fed meat)
- 1/4 cup of gluten-free flour of choice (this is mine)
- 2 large carrots, halved lengthwise and sliced
- 2 cups trimmed and snapped green beans
- 1 quart of home-canned tomatoes with juice (where to buy organic BPA-free tomatoes)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 cup broth, red wine, or water (or more as needed)
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 3 tablespoons butter (where to find butter from grass-fed cows)
- salt and plenty of black pepper to taste (where to find real salt)
- Heat lard in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once the pot is very hot, add mushrooms. Saute, stirring occasionally, while you chop the onions. Add the onions to the mushrooms, along with a generous pinch of sea salt, and continue to saute until the onions are soft and translucent.
- Move the mushrooms and onions to a bowl and return the pot to the heat. While the pot heats up, sprinkle a dinner plate with a generous dusting of your favorite gluten-free flour. Add half of the meat to the flour and turn to coat evenly. Add more lard or tallow to the pot, as needed, making sure the pot is very hot before adding the beef. Shake any excess flour off your beef and add it to the pot. Allow to brown on the first side for a few minutes before turning.
- Brown the beef on the other side and then remove to the bowl holding the mushrooms and onions. Repeat breading and frying of the second batch of beef. If there is any flour left on your plate, add it to the fat and second batch of frying beef. Stir to combine with the lard and make a roux.
- Add the first batch of beef along with the mushrooms and onions back to the pot. Pour in the canned tomatoes and deglaze the bottom of the pot by scraping the bits off with a wooden spoon. Add the carrots and green beans followed by the bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, and 1 cup of additional liquid. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.
- Turn heat to low, cover, and allow to simmer for at least two hours, stirring occasionally. When the meat is incredibly tender, stir in the paprika and butter. Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary. Serve hot.