Yesterday’s beef stew was often prepared from a heavily marbled cut of beef, with the rich gravy incorporating much of the rendered fat. However, beef stew can be a surprisingly low calorie treat when prepared with the following modern beef stew recipe – using either a crock pot, or top-of-the-stove cooking.
Lean Beef Stew Recipe
You can buy stew beef pre-cut, but to get lean stew beef at a good price, cut your own – and shop for sales. Beef roasts suitable for a healthy stew are often found on sale at substantial savings. Good choices to cut into lean stew beef are top round roast, bottom round roast, and a lean chuck arm roast. Flank steak is also a delicious choice for a lean stew, but it is usually pricier. A richer preparation can be made using the cuts traditionally associated with beef stew: a marbled cut of chuck, brisket, boneless rib, or plate.
Another departure from traditional beef stew is that the meat is not coated with flour before browning in this recipe. This results in a beefier, more pot-roast-like quality.
Ingredients: (serves 7-9)
3 pounds of lean beef cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large onions, cut into bite-size chunks
1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced into chunks
5 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
4 garlic cloves, pressed or finely chopped
2 quarts water
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons cornstarch (or flour)
half a green cabbage, quartered
Italian seasoning, or basil, oregano, thyme, and/or bay leaf, to taste
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
Heat a 6-8 quart heavy pot or dutch oven to medium-high.
Add the olive oil and the beef. Stir frequently until the beef is nicely browned.
Add 1/2 the onion chunks. Cook briefly, stirring constantly, until the onions are lightly browned.
Add the water, garlic, salt, pepper, and optional seasonings. After the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover.
Cook 2-1/2 hours.
Remove everything but 2 cups of the liquid from the pot.
Shake the cornstarch with 1/4 cup of warm water in a tightly sealed jar until the cornstarch is completely dissolved.
Slowly pour the cornstarch mixture into the remaining 2 cups of beef liquid while stirring constantly to avoid lumps in the gravy.
Raise the heat to medium high and continue to stir constantly until the gravy has thickened.
Reduce the heat to low, and return the beef, onion, broth mixture to the pot.
Add the remaining vegetables and stir to mix well.
Cook another 2 hours on low.
Like most stews, this beef stew is even better when reheated the next day
Crock Pot Directions:
After browning the beef and 1/2 the onions, transfer them to the crock pot
Add the water, garlic, salt, pepper, and optional seasonings.
Cook 4 hours at 185 degrees.
Use 2 cups of the liquid to prepare the gravy on the stove top as described above.
Add the remaining vegetables, and cook another 2 hours, or until the vegetables are tender.