One of my favorite things to cook when the weather starts to cool off is a simple beef stew. Even though I take shortcuts, it still tastes great! Plus, we usually end up with leftovers and nothing is more simple than throwing a pot of already cooked beef stew back on the stove for dinner.
All you need is 2 lbs of beef stew meat, a bag of potatoes, a bag of baby carrots, and 2 large onions (plus herbs, salt & pepper and a about 1/2 a cup of flour).
I'm super rustic about the whole affair. I don't peel my potatoes or carrots. I place my flour in a gallon size ziploc bag, throw a bunch of herbs and s&p right in with the flour, then dump my meat in to the bag. CLOSE the bag before you shake it vigorously, and get flour all up in your meats business. Of course, you know I have my dutch oven on standby by with some nice hot olive oil waiting to receive my floured meat.
After the meat is browned, throw in all your veggies. I usually put onions in, then my potatoes and then my baby carrots on top. I throw in more herbs (the holy trinity = rosemary, thyme and basil) and more salt and pepper. If I'm feeling froggy, I add Worcestershire Sauce. I'm usually feeling froggy. Did you know that Worcestershire Sauce has anchovies in it? Gross! I wish I didn't know that. Ohwell, I'll just keep using it anyway and try not to think about it too much.
Anyway - after that - pour in your stock (chicken or beef.. whatever). You'll need enough to just barely cover the carrot line. I think 8 cups usually does the trick.
Hot tips? Let that sucker simmer for a good two hours on your stove. The meat will get nice and tender, and you won't believe how awesome the broth tastes. Oh, shoot - if you have bay leaves, throw a few of those in there, too. It will be delicious, I promise. Of course, you probably want to see pictures of the finished product, which I COMPLETELY sidetracked and neglected to take. But, lucky for you I remembered to take pictures the last time I did this. So here you go.
Use your imagination and remove the celery (I stopped using celery in most of my slow cooking - because I'm all about the ability to open the bag and throw it in). You may also notice that the potatoes are different. Really, any potato will do fine :)
Serve and enjoy! Leftovers are also amazing, and you can stretch things even further by throwing them over egg noodles!