Bean Pot Red Beef Stew by Larry Andersen

Bean Pot

Red Beef Stew

Clay Pot Cooking

I have had this bean pot for many years. It has produced many delicious bean dishes; navy beans, barbeque beans, pork and beans and even Bean Hole Beans. It gets workouts during the summer months making side dishes for patio grilling sessions. It gets a lot of workouts in the winter making warming and satisfying pots of chili con carne.

Recently a friend provided me with a Rmertopf. That is a German clay pot and the name basically means Roman pot. Made of partially glazed terracotta, a pre-soak before cooking provides moisture to keep the food inside moist while cooking. I have already used it to make some delicious chicken and vegetable dinners.

Somewhere along the line a long-ago, almost forgotten archaeology minor kicked in and decided to indulge curiosity and learn about clay pot cooking around the world.

Preparation: 45 minutes plus 6 hours oven time Life Experience Recipe
Serves 4 to 6 depending on sides.
Ingredients:
  • 2 pounds lean stew beef
  • 6 plum-sized onions
  • 8 stalks celery
  • 1 can (28-ounces) crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 6 medium potatoes
  • 8 medium carrots
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 can (29-ounce) tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 beef bouillon cubes
Procedure
  1. Butcher prepared stew beef is certainly an option but I do prefer to cut up a roast, usually for a lot less money per pound and I know what I am really getting. Cut the roast into bite-sized pieces. Add a bit of vegetable oil to a hot frying pan. Add the meat and brown on all sides. Remove the meat and set aside, Not required but a nice extra flavor touch, deglaze the pan with a bit of red wine, simmer and reduce; add to the reserved beef.
  2. Peel carrots and potatoes; trim and de-string celery. Cut carrots and celery into 1-inch or bite-sized pieces. Cut potatoes into sixths, also about bite-sized. Peel and trim onions. If using large onions leave whole while cooking and cut into quarters to serve.

  3. Add the reserved beef into the bean pot. Add the vegetables, except for the peas and the flour, to the bean pot. Add the spices and bouillon cubes. Pour in tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Add enough water to just cover. And top with the lid. Check the manufacturers tag, check if your pot needs to start in a cold oven If your pot can go direct into a hot oven preheat to 325°. Either way, place the pot on the center rack Place a cookie sheet on the rack below this recipe fills the pot almost to the brim. Cook for 3 hours.

  4. Remove the pot from the oven and carefully open the lid (there is a lot of steam in there). Check liquid level; add water or broth if needed. If the sauce seems to be thin place the reserved flour in a bowl and add some of the cooking liquid; stir to make a slurry. Add to the stew mixture and give a stir to mix in the slurry. Recover and return the pot to the oven. Set for 275° and cook for an additional 3 hours.
  5. Just before the stew has completed cooking, cook the peas in lightly salted boiling water until just done. Drain and cover with cold or iced water.to stop the cooking process. You can if desired cook the peas in the pot with the rest of the ingredients but they will, as you know, go pale and loose the bright green color that I think adds to the eye appeal. I believe pretty food always tastes better.

    A bowl of red beef stew, some fresh baked buttered crusty French bread and a nice glass of wine; what more could a person want for dinner?

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