While most people think that braises and stews are for cold weather only, the addition of barbecue sauce to this make-ahead recipe gives the stew a summer taste. This can be made several days in advance and refrigerated or frozen in airtight containers or simply tossed in a crockpot in the morning.
I like this served over buttered egg noodles, but for a summer meal you can also serve over a bed of arugula.
2 lbs lean stew beef, in 1" cubes
1 large yellow onion, sliced
2 cans beef broth or stock (approx. 21 oz)
3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2" slices
1 large celery stalk cut into 1/2" slices
3/4 cup bottled barbecue sauce (suggest Kraft original)
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup flour (or more if needed)
salt & pepper
Make Ahead Preparation:
In a Dutch oven or large, heavy pot over medium-high heat, add enough oil to cover the bottom.
Mix flour with 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Dredge beef cubes in the flour mixture and add to heated oil being sure not to crowd the pot. Cook beef until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes.
Layer beef and vegetables in crockpot in this order: beef, carrots, celery, potatoes, onions. Mix barbecue sauce with beef broth or stock and add to crockpot. Add just enough hot water to cover beef and veggies. Cover and simmer for up to 10 hours on low or 5-6 hours on high.
About 1/2 hour before serving, check for taste and add more barbecue sauce, salt and/or pepper as needed.
Rinse frozen peas in colander under cold running water. Drain. Increase heat to high and add peas to stew mixture.
Combine 2-3 tbs flour with 1/3 cup warm water. Stir into stew, a little at a time, and continue to cook and stir until desired consistency.
Reduce heat to medium. Add onions slices on top of the beef. Combine beef broth or stock with barbecue sauce and add to beef mixture. If needed, add just enough hot water to cover the beef. Bring to a simmer, cover and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until beef is tender.
Add carrots, celery and potatoes. Cover and simmer for another hour. Check for taste and add more barbecue sauce, salt and/or pepper as needed.
Rinse frozen peas in colander under cold running water. Drain. Increase heat to medium and add peas to stew mixture.
Combine 2-3 tbs flour with 1/3 cup warm water. Stir into stew, a little at a time, until desired consistency.
Stew can be refrigerated for several days or frozen in airtight containers for several weeks.
Last Minute Assembly:
Defrost stew if frozen. Heat on stovetop or in microwave. Serve over hot buttered egg noodles.