I think it's a wonderful thing when your mother's best beef stew can be turned into something else (and, I know she would disapprove!) I think every home cook has their own panache in the kitchen and you and I, am sure, are no different. Just because mom made the best beef stew in the whole world when you were a kid, I think she would be honored if you used it and turned it into something new. Mine is!
So, in this recipe I turned my mom's best beef stew (or hash) as she used to call it (a regional thing,) into a totally deliciously Red Beef Stew Soup - a cross between a British Stew and a Hungarian or German goulash! Goulash has many variations from its ancestry and many authentic European cooks, who put their own spin on the traditional version.
However, every variation is amazing. Why? Because it's cooked with love in a kitchen with history! Enjoy this version of my Red Beef Stew Soup recipe – it can be adjusted to suit your needs as always and I guarantee you - it is delicious and nutritious!
Olive Oil and/or bacon grease (optional)
1 large onion, sliced or diced
5 celery hearts, sliced
3 carrots, sliced or diced 1/2"
5 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced 1"
2 lb. beef chuck steak meat, cut into bite size pieces
Flour for dusting
2 tbsp. smoked paprika
12 cups organic beef broth or stock
4 tbsp. tomato paste
2 x 14 oz. cans diced tomatoes with juice
6 sprigs fresh thyme + 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, tied in a bundle
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Over a medium to high flame in a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup of olive oil and add the onions, celery, carrots, garlic and potatoes. Cook stirring often until the leeks are wilting and the onions are opaque, approximately 8 minutes. Set aside in a large bowl.
2. Next, heat the broth or stock over a medium flame and tie the herb bundle to the handle making sure that it's submerged into the broth. When the broth is hot, add the tomato paste and the 2 cans of chopped tomatoes and reduce the heat to a simmer.
3. Toss the meat in a little all purpose (plain) flour until lightly coated, shaking off the excess flour before browning. Add more olive oil and/bacon grease (if using – the bacon grease just adds more flavor) to the pan and brown the meat in small batches. Return all of the meat to the skillet and add the paprika stirring to coat the meat very well.
Then, add a cup of the broth to the skillet and stir vigorously to release all of the yummy brown bits (fond) from the bottom of the pan. Add the meat and juices to the broth or stock and bring to a boil briefly. Reduce the heat to low and cook slowly for approximately 1 – 1-1/2 hours covered tightly, until the meat is tender. Note: Cutting the meat into smaller pieces will reduce the length of cooking – saving you time and energy bills.
4. When the meat is done, add the veggie mixture to the pot and cook uncovered for approximately 30 minutes until the potatoes are tender when pierced with fork. Taste the stew and season with salt and pepper to your liking.
If you desire a thicker sauce in this dish, add 2 tbsp. cornstarch (optional) mixed with water and bring to a boil, cooking for at least one minute on high to thicken the sauce.
Serve this dish any way you wish - in a bowl by itself with a cool dollop of sour cream on top, with a crisp side salad - over rice - with dumplings - or just mop up the juices with artisan fresh baked bread from your local bakery. Whichever way you eat this – it’s hearty, full of deep flavor and the leftovers freeze really well in a tight sealed container.