My family loves stew and I make my stew the way all Hawaiians do with a tomato base that marries with the rich beef flavor that release itself with the caramelized browning of the beef.
The browning of the meat is probably the most important step to making a tasty stew. Without this step you will end up with a flat unbalanced stew that has pale tasteless meat and chunks of flavorless onions and celery.
You will clearly taste the absents of flavors that are only accomplished by caramelizing the meat and sautéing the onions and celery. Such simple ingredients transform into something so comforting and the best part is it comes together in just one pot.
I usually use chuck roast to make stew which is reasonably priced and readily available, but today when I was at the grocer I found a beautiful pack of meaty short ribs that were on sale. Short ribs in my town run close to $5 per pound and considering the bone, that makes for a very expensive stew. Today’s sale price brought these baby’s down to $2.50 per pound. I was definitely making short ribs tonight. I asked the butcher to cut through the bones so I would end up with 2” pieces which is the perfect size for stew or soup.
SHORT RIB STEW
4 pounds short ribs, cut into 2” pieces through the bone
1/3 cup flour
¼ cup oil
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1 large onion, diced small
2 stalks celery, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14oz. can Italian stewed tomatoes
1 8oz. can tomato sauce
22 oz. water, use the cans to measure
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
¼ tsp. pepper
4 carrots, chunked into bite size pieces
4 red potatoes, chunked into bite size pieces
Mix the flour with the seasoned salt (I used Johnny’s but any brand will do). Toss meat in the flour mixture and coat each piece well.
Heat a heavy bottom pot over med high heat and add ¼ cup of oil and brown short ribs on all sides. Then set aside. Repeat until all the short ribs are browned. If there is any leftover flour, don’t toss it out. Add it in the next step.
Pour off all but 2 Tbsp. of oil from the pot and lower the heat leaving behind the browned bits that have settled to the bottom. Stir in the onions and celery and let cook for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until the onions are soft. Add any four that is left in the bowl from the meat, if any, to the onions and let cook for another couple of minutes. The flour on the meat and the extra will thicken the gravy.
Add the tomato sauce, tomatoes, water, sugar, salt, pepper and short ribs back to the pot. Stir to mix and bring to a boil. Lower heat to and cover.
Cooking for 1 hour or until meat is tender but not falling off the bone. Uncover and bring heat up to med and add carrots and cook for 5 minutes add potatoes and cook for another 10 minutes or until carrots and potatoes are tender.