Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Henry Cooks Beef Stew

It's been a while since my last Culinary Mom post. In the interim, I have served dinners that were colossal failures, such as the made-from-scratch ravioli with fresh garden sauce prepared during a heat wave that raised the temperature of the kitchen to about 85° and which everybody hated. Except me, of course. I have also served up some winners, such as the tried and true Taco Night, American Chop Suey, and the ever-popular Ordering Out for Pizza. And earlier this month Henry laid his thumb open by not using the claw grip on some scallions he was chopping (luckily, a butterfly bandage we had on hand closed it up and we avoided a trip to the emergency room).

But today is Henry's birthday, and he wanted to make beef stew because he had made it last week at Cub Scout camp and thought it was delicious. Always one to seize the opportunity to get the kiddos involved in the kitchen, I agreed heartily. Mike found some no-sodium beef bouillon at the store, which was miraculous since bouillon usually has about a million times one's recommended daily allowance of sodium. And of course we needed beef, so I splurged and picked up some sirloin that went for about $6.50/pound. Since Mike really hates celery, we omitted that.

Henry and I got cooking, and I started by sautéeing the onions I had chopped the night before but hadn't been able to use because the power went out just as I was about to put them into the pan (which led up to Sandwich Night). Then I supervised him as he cubed the beef and was about to add it to the onions when he said that he'd meant ground beef. Oh well, at least now I'd know exactly what was going into our hamburger this time. We ground the beef using my trusty 114-year-old meat grinder, which both boys love to operate.

Jack cut up the potatoes and a carrot. At first I had him using a serrated plastic knife so that he wouldn't hurt himself, but he was having a tough time getting through the vegetables. So today he graduated to a sharp knife, a small paring knife with a three-inch blade. At least Jack remembered to use the claw grip!

We added the rest of the ingredients and a half-hour later the stew was done! It was a little bland for my taste, but Henry woofed it up like crazy. Jack didn't like it much, so Henry had his first experience of people not liking his cooking. But that didn't bother him at all. Maybe I should take a page from his book.

Camp Split Rock Beef Stew
1 onion, chopped
1 T vegetable oil
1 lb. ground beef (or ground filet mignon if you're feeling wealthy)
2 potatoes, cubed
2 carrots, cubed
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 packet no-sodium beef boullion
1 t. Italian seasoning
1 3/4 c. water
Black pepper, to taste

In a stew pot on medium heat, sauté the onion in the oil until it is translucent. Add the beef and cook until there are no pink bits left. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Turn the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the stew simmer for a half hour or until the vegetables are soft.

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