Sunday, June 1, 2014

old-time beef stew

After a month-long hiatus, Cook Like a Star (CLAS) is back, and along with Zoe from Bake For Happy Kids and Joyce from Kitchen Flavours, yours truly (AHEM! AHEM!) is hosting this linky party!

For the entire month of June, CLAS is featuring Paula Deen and the Deen brothers.
Paula Deen is an American celebrity chef and cooking show host. She lives in Savannah, Georgia, where she owns and runs The Lady & Sons with her sons, Jaime and Bobby Deen.
image from
In 1989, she divorced her husband of 24 years and was left with $200 and 2 kids, as well as her younger brother to raise. After trying various jobs, she started making sandwiches and meals, which her sons would deliver, for sale. When her home business, The Bag Lady outgrew her kitchen, Paula Deen opened her restaurant, The Lady & Sons, in downtown Savannah.

Besides being able to cook fantastic dishes, Paula is perhaps best known for her VERY liberal use of butter in her food. I remember seeing her cooking shows for the first time and my eyes nearly fell out of my head when I saw how much butter she was adding into a casserole! Of course, while butter makes everything more tasty, Paula's food is still tasty without copious amounts of butter.

As I am going to prove with my very first Paula Deen recipe post for this month - Old-time Beef Stew.
In this recipe, not an ounce of butter was used, but I tell you, this was so, so yummy, I ate every single bite of stew in my bowl. I did not add any potatoes, rice or pasta and instead, served the stew with a salad. Yet, I didn't miss the carbs. Not one bit.

It was such a simple stew to make as well. And with minimal spices added, the stew had an honest and earthy flavour.

I used beef chuck to make this stew. I like using chuck for stewing because it is a cheaper cut and yet does not lack in flavour. In addition, I like how the meat falls apart when stewed.

I cut the beef into pieces (not too small as they tend to shrink after cooking).
I seasoned with salt and pepper.
And in a really hot casserole, I browned the beef (in small batches) in some olive oil.
I continued cooking the beef until all had been browned.
Once all the beef had been browned, into the casserole, I added water, the beef, onion, garlic and bay leaves.
I also added Worcestershire sauce.
And salt, pepper, sugar, paprika and ground cloves.
I gave everything a good stir, covered the casserole, turned the heat to low, and cooked this for 1.5 hours.

At the end of this time, I cut and added the carrots and celery to the stew, and cooked, covered, on low heat for another 45 minutes.
After which the carrots should be soft (poke with a fork if you are unsure).
It is also a good time to check the seasonings.

I removed some of the liquid, the bay leaves and garlic cloves.
And added a corn starch slurry to make a gravy.
And the stew was done!
This is honest food.
It is hearty and tasty and totally satisfying.
If a good beef stew is what you are after, do give this recipe a try!

Old-Time Beef Stew (Serves 4)
Adapted from Paula Deen

2 pounds (1kg) stew beef - I used chuck
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups (470ml) water
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 or 2 bay leaves
1 medium onion, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika - I used smoked paprika
A dash ground allspice or ground cloves
3 large carrots, sliced
3 ribs celery, chopped
2 tablespoons cornstarch, mixed with 1/4 cup (59ml) water to make a slurry

1. Season meat with salt and pepper. Brown meat in hot oil.
2. Add water, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, bay leaves, onion, salt, sugar, pepper, paprika, and allspice (or ground cloves).
3. Cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Remove bay leaves and garlic clove.
4. Add carrots and celery. Cover and cook 30 to 40 minutes longer.
5. To thicken gravy, remove 2 cups hot liquid.
6. Using a separate bowl, combine 1/4 cup water and cornstarch until smooth. Mix with a little hot liquid and return mixture to pot. Stir and cook until bubbly.

This post is linked to Cook like a Star, Paula Deen and the Deen Brothers organised by me the Domestic Goddess Wannabe, Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids.

Want to cook or bake like Paula Deen or the Deen Brothers? To join, simply cook or bake any recipe from their websites or cookbooks and link with us at this (Joyce's), this (Zoe's) or this (Diana's), post for the whole of June 2014.

To use this linky tool, please make sure that:
(1) Your post is posted in June 2014.
(2) Please mention Cook like a Star in your post and link back to us at Diana from Domestic Goddess Wannabe, Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids and Joyce from Kitchen Flavours.

For more details, please see this.

Here are my blogging friends that have joined me cooking for this event. Please visit their blogs for more of their excellent cooking!


  1. Hi Diana,

    I have read about Paula's journey as well. Isn't Paula amazing, accomplishing so well with her sons, smile and knowledge in food?

    Yeah... PD's food are mostly all loaded with butter. I have tried a few of her recipes with healthier options and all work too :p

    Your old time beef stew looks very warm and hearty. It is the right food that we need now for our chilly weather.


    1. Hi Zoe the more of her recipes I try, the more admiration I have for her!!

  2. Hi Diana,
    Wow, that is one delicious looking stew! I don't eat beef, and I think that it would work well with pork too! I have tons of recipes from Paula Deen and her handsome sons that I've bookmarked to try, and this one goes into the list as well! Yum!

  3. Hi Diana, what a hearty meal this is, one that leaves you full and happy. What more could one ask for?