I have made beef stew probably five times since we've been married, and I usually have a hard time getting the beef tender and the veg all cooked right. I decided to have another go at it, though, as it's fall, stew is a healthy meal, and stewing beef is hands-down the cheapest meat I can buy at the natural meat shop I frequent.
I looked up beef stew on Recipezaar (highly recommended), and found one that was so basic looking I figured even I couldn't mess it up. And it turns out I was right! Here is the recipe, with my changes included in italics.
1lb stewing beef
1 cup flour
2 tblspoons lard (I used butter... who has lard around these days?)
900ml beef broth (I think that's like 3 cups, but in Canada we rock the mls)
3 carrots, sliced thick
5 medium potatoes (I used about 8 or 9 new potatoes instead) in thick chunks
3 medium onions (I used ½ a very large red sweet onion)in thick chunks
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
(¾ cup cooking sherry or any dry red wine0
(1 tblspoon minced garlic)
Roll the beef in flour. Heat large soup pot on med-high and melt butter. Brown beef and extra flour in butter until nice and brown but not burned.
Add just enough broth to cover meat, and add the sherry or wine if desired, along with the bay leaves, salt, pepper, and garlic. Cover and cook on low for an hour.
Add carrots, cook another 20 minutes. Add potatoes and onions and cook until tender, adding additional broth as needed while adding veggies to keep them covered.
I should say I didn't add the extra flour when I made it and wished I had, as it would have made the soup a bit thicker and nicer. Other than that, though, it was very good, and it made hubby happy so it's a winner!