Because it takes several hours to properly prepare stew meat and dense root vegetables, I like to make a large pot of stew starter. I also recommend Better than Bouillon flavor paste because it has a richer flavor profile than bouillon cubes, and you can control exactly how much you add. This stew is just the meat and root vegetables. I use a little more than half (about 2/3) of it to make a savory pie on the first day and freeze the rest of it for another day.Ingredients:
2.5 – 3 pounds beef stew meat cut into 1-inch chunks
1 cup of flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 – 6 bay leaves (count them going in and coming out of the pot)
3 cups beef broth (use one teaspoon Better than Bouillon beef flavoring in each cup of water)
1 medium onion (peeled and chopped)
2 cups cubed unpeeled Yukon gold potatoes or red potatoes (about 7 small potatoes)
2 cups cubed parsnips (about two scrubbed parsnips)
1 ¼ cups cubed turnips (about 1 medium peeled)
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (I’m partial to Lea and Perrins)
(Optional) White Button or Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt or celery salt
2/3 cup of butter
4-6 Tablespoons of cold water
(Optional) whole milk or cream for brushing the crust
Warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large heavy bottomed pan over a low flame/heat setting. Dredge the stew meat in the flour, salt and pepper and place in the bottom of the pan. Brown the meat in batches. The meat needs to contact the bottom of the pot. Move out cooked meat and add a bit more olive oil to brown the next batch of meat. Once all the meat is browned, add it to the pot with the chopped onion, beef broth, bay leaves, and Worcestershire sauce.
Simmer on low heat. The flour on the meat should mix with the broth in the pot to make a nice gravy. If the pot liquid is too thin for your taste, you can ladle up a portion, mix it with a 1 tablespoon of the dredge mixture and return it to the pot. Give it a moment of stirring and see if that doesn’t bring on the desired thickness. Repeat if still too thin. Allow this to cook while the vegetables are prepped.
Add the potatoes, parsnips, and turnip. Allow this to simmer until the root vegetables are tender. Meanwhile, make your pie crust. The crust recipe is above. If you don’t know how to make pie crust, watch the videos on this website.
The crust recipe will make enough for a bottom and top crust fluted together in a deep ten-inch pie plate. If you are using a smaller pie plate, you may have enough pastry shards to decorate your crust. (See photos.)
Roll out the bottom crust, fold, and drape over the edges of the pie plate. Prick the bottom crust. Remove the bay leaves from the stew starter and ladle about half the beef and root vegetable mixture into the plate. If you like mushrooms, slice half a dozen or so over the stewed meat and root vegetables. Roll out the top crust, cut vents in the crust, then seal and flute around the edge. Protect the crust edge with a foil ring.
Bake in a 425 degree oven for thirty minutes, remove the foil ring, and bake another 10-15 minutes until golden brown.
Allow the pie to cool about 10 minutes before you cut into it. I like to serve with a mixed green salad topped with sliced pears and walnuts. Major Grey’s Peach and Mango Chutney makes a nice accompaniment.