beef stew for the soul


It's 10:30 PM on a Sunday and I'm tired.

I'm tired but the amazing beef stew that I made today is too hot to jam into tupperware. I know this because I already melted one of my containers just a minute ago. Lesson learned. I'm working on my patience.

I have two fond foods from my childhood. Kraft Mac & Cheese .... and Dinty Moore Beef Stew. I'm not kidding. Dinty Moore was very much a food I remember having on trips to the Vineyard. About 10 years ago, I remember discovering that my beloved beef stew probably wasn't super healthy ... but it always held a space in my heart. 

Whatever. Now I'm 29 and I can do whatever I want... included stuff my arteries with Dinty Moore. Flashback to 2006 (?) when I confessed my feelings for Dinty Moore to my friend Caitlin ... and told her to put it in the "vault". In other words, don't tell anyone I like beef and gravy from a can.

Clearly I'm over that stigma.

At work I sit next to this guy named Sean who rolled in last week with beef stew and it got my mind wheels turning. Sean was lucky enough to have a wife who babysat the pot o' beef for several hours. Thankfully, I had the next best thing ... a crockpot and a free Sunday. HOLLA.

Just like all of my recipes, I got the ingredients from either my neighborhood butcher or the highly discounted Haymarket market. I did a little quick math and it appears the ingredients cost me about $16.70 total ... and I'm guessing I'll end up with 6 servings or so. Not quite up to the cheapie cheapie standards of my Italian old lady neighbors, but I'm still impressed.

Also, this is how I measure. I would have used my hand but it was wet from probably drinking wine, washing another pot, or busy taking a picture. Or all three.


Anyway, this is how you make your own Dinty Moore Beef Stew. Plus, this is totally healthier than the can version ... at least that's what I'm hoping.

Go for it.

(Step 1) Brown the pancetta in a skillet with a smidge of olive oil. Cook to the desired crispiness and then add to the crockpot.

(Step 2) Coat the beef in flour and then brown / sear the skin in the skillet on a medium-high heat. Don't stress about actually cooking the beef since it's going sit in the pot for 4-7 hours. Add additional olive oil as needed. I needed to do this a few times as it was absorbed by the flour.
(Step 3) After adding all the beef and pancetta to the crockpot, add a bit more olive oil to the skillet. Add in the diced onion and cook until soft. This will take about 5 minutes. After the onion is soft, mix in the tomato paste. I'd like to believe there was a reason for coating the onion in the tomato paste ... but I'm not sure that there is. Let's invent one.

(Step 4) After adding the onion / tomato mixture to the crockpot, pour the red wine into the skillet to deglaze the pan. I used a wooden spoon to gently scrap at the bottom on the pan. You want to get all that goodness you left in the pan. 

(Step 5) Add the red wine to the crockpot along with the potatoes, carrots, broth, and parsley.

(Step 6) Set the crockpot for 4 hours on high or 7 hours on low. 
(Step 7) Mix in the frozen peas .... and eat.

Shopping List
2 medium onions diced
3 carrots chopped
5 potatoes (4 cups medium diced)
1/3 lb diced pancetta
2.5 lbs meat
olive oil
flour (approx 1 cup)
1 cup red wine
1 teaspoon dried parsley
2 cups beef stock

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