So, I made stew last week. Or at least, I’m calling it stew even though it lacks most of the stewish characteristics that I’ve come to know and love. I bought my package of super-cheap stewing beef and some root veggies and felt oh-so-superior as I put together my super economic/nutritious/delicious meal for my family.
Now, let’s overlook the fact that I cut up twice as much veg as I needed (a 5 pound stewing bag is a LOT of veg as it turns out) and so ended up with about a 3 pound bag of turnips and parsnips in the fridge. And let’s forget all about the fact that I went out of my way to find a recipe with the fewest ingredients and shortest instructions…meaning the fewest possible flavours (when you’re working with turnip less might not actually mean more). Instead let’s focus on how thrifty I was feeling by feeding my family on what was about $4 of meat. Feeding my family for more than one meal even! Man, it’s like I was MAKING money by cooking this stew.
But when I got home at the end of a long day at the office and pulled the dish out of the oven to view my miraculous stew… well… it just didn’t “look” right. I remember stew as being brown in colour. Dark, rich, brown. Mine was not brown. My potatoes were decidedly white and gazing up at me from a soup-y tomato-y…well, soup. Granted, I didn’t do anything that would have made it brown (except to brown the meat slightly before tossing it into it’s new found home in the root vegetable medley). And I didn’t do anything to make sure the sauce was thick – I think I figured the magic of root vegetables and MEAT would happen and *poof* thick sauce would prevail.
I didn’t use a slow cooker, or a dutch oven. I just tossed it all in a covered casserole and shoved it in the oven… does it really make a difference? I’d make it again, but I think I can make a roast with roast vegetable combo that would taste better and provide better gravy than this concoction. Obviously you and I need to have a chat about stew.
*i don’t call my mother “Mum”…i call her Mom. But in a letter on the interwebs, “Mum” sounds better to me.