One of the original English recipes for stew is the "Brown" Stew that has more recently been termed a Country Beef Stew
. It is filling and uses inexpensive cuts of meat. Ideal if you have a hungry family to feed.
How to make Country Beef Stew:
Cut the stewing steak into chunks about 1" (2.5cm) thick and peel and slice the onion. Heat the beef dripping in a large pan, and use it to fry the meat quickly until browned on all sides. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and put to one side. Add the sliced onion to the pan, reduce the heat and fry gently until it becomes transparent or lightly browned. Stir in the flour and cook slowly until it turns a rich brown colour.
Gradually add the beef stock to the onion and bring up to boiling, stirring all the time. Add the bouquet garni and salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Allow this to simmer for 1½ hours. Whilst it is simmering, peel and slice the carrots and peel and dice the turnip.
Remove the pan from the heat and, with a large spoon, skim off any fat on the surface, and then add the carrots and turnip. Replace the lid and put the pan back on the heat, simmering for another hour (or until the meat and vegetables are tender). Again, skim off any fat. Remove the bouqet garni and, if required, season with a little more salt and pepper to suit your tastes. Serve with Creamed Potatoes
or just on its own.
If you have problems finding beef dripping, you can use duck or goose fat instead.
If you have don't have the time or inclination to make a beef stock, you can substitute a beef stock cube dissolved in 1pt (600ml) of hot water.
If you have made a stew, casserole or gravy and want to thicken the liquid, place a teaspoon of cornflour (cornstarch or wheat starch) into a cup and add just a little water till the cornflour dissolves. Stir this, little by little, into your cooking and you will find that the sauce will thicken almost immediately.