Stew for dinner

Family Dinner

August 5, 2012 , In: Yum! , With: One Comment

My last post about our passion for supporting our local ranchers and the value of grassfed meat made me hungry.  Mr. Hensongs said it made him REALLY, REALLY HUNGRY and reminded him of my mom’s yummy recipes. Now, for Mom, “recipe” was a loosely used term.  She was a farm girl, single mom (my dad died when I was young) and a flat-out magician at making food fit for royalty from whatever was in the pantry and fridge.

In the days before slow cookers, my mom was a master at putting a stew on to cook in the morning so it would be ready for dinner that evening.  That’s what I want to share with you today – more of a set of instructions than a recipe, so put aside your panic and just let creativity take over.  It’s not a fancy recipe; it’s a family dinner.

Libby’s Busy Day Stew

All you need is some sort of protein, some sort of liquid,  some basic vegetables, whatever other vegetables are in the refrigerator, and a bit of herbs, salt and pepper. Here is my mom’s basic set of instructions.


  • A good, heavy stew pot with a lid that can go into the oven
  • An oven – preheated to 225 degrees
  • 1 pound of pastured stew meat (ours is from Morris Grassfed, of course!)
  • A  soup spoonful of flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon of fat (I love to use the fat from some bacon like Prather Ranch  from the farmer’s market but any oil will do)
  • 1 onion, cut in chunks
  • A couple of cloves of garlic, smashed
  • A few carrots, cut in 1 inch chunks
  • A couple of parsnips, cut in 1 inch chunks  (quit wrinkling your noses…this is the secret ingredient)
  • A pound or so of potatoes, cut in quarters  (Yukon Gold hold up well to the slow cooking)
  • Some broth (bonus if you have your own homemade beef broth)
  • Some red wine  (a bottle that’s good enough to drink.  Don’t use that corked bottle you opened and can’t make yourself pour down the drain)
  • A couple of bay leaves
  • A tablespoon of your favorite dried herbs (my favorite mix is Bavarian Seasoning from Penzey’s Spices)

If I have some wilting celery, I’ll lay it on top of the stew – just for flavor.

You can also add other vegetables you have that make sense in stew.  Cut them large enough that they don’t melt away while cooking.  We like to add a big handful of green peas during the 30 minutes of cooking. If you’re coming home from work, toss them in the pot the minute you walk in the door.

Putting It All Together

Here are the ingredients I always use.

The basics

Hey! The wine is for the stew.  I just didn’t want to show the brand I am using today.  Really!

Getting Down To Business

  1. Put the flour, salt and pepper in a bag or bowl.  Add the meat and shake or stir until it’s all coated.
  2. Heat the bacon fat or oil in the heavy pan.
  3. Put in the meat and any extra flour mix that’s in the bag or bowl.  Brown the meat.
  4. Add all of the vegetables (except the celery and peas), herbs, and bay leaves.  Stir.
  5. Add a cup or so of the broth.
  6. Add a big glug of red wine (that’s probably 1/2 cup).
  7. Stir.
  8. Lay the celery on top, put the lid on, slide the pot into the oven.

Go to work….go shopping…do whatever you do with your day.  Just leave the oven alone for at least 5 hours.

About 30 minutes before you want to dive into dinner, throw the peas into the pot.  Leave the lid off for the last bit of cooking.


I did go all “California” on you today and added a loaf of Artichoke Garlic Herb Bread from one of our favorite markets.  It goes in the oven for 10 minutes to warm up.  I do believe you can order it via mail….sorry in advance for starting the addiction in your  family.

We rounded out tonight’s dinner with a couple of little apple crisps made from 4 windfall apples from the backyard.  Those stay in the oven at 350 degrees while we eat dinner.

Dinner Is Served


Here it is; our simple family dinner.   Put this on your menu and try it out on your family – let me know how it goes!




    • Ann Robinson
    • August 5, 2012

    I’ve had the pleasure of that meal- super good!

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Hello, I'm Linda

I am a City Girl who was raised with backyard gardens and a chicken in every plot.

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