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Friday, March 27, 2009

Simple Stew on Foodie Friday

Truck on over to Designs by Gollum for her Foodie Friday extravaganza -- it's a grand feast!
Click here to go there! Don't miss it.


I have a humble offering for Foodie Friday -- The World's Simplest Stew.

I found its original years ago in an issue of Cook & Tell, a cooking and foodie newsletter put together by Karyl Bannister at her island home off the coast of Maine. It's a lovely newsletter ... click here to visit.

World's Simplest Stew

I lost the original recipe, but have made it so many times that I am reasonably sure what follows is accurate.
Heck, how far off course can you drift with these ingredients?

You will need the following ingredients; quantities aren't very important:
Beef. . . I buy London Broil on sale for $1.99 a pound, and cut it into stew-beef-sized cubes.
Onions. . . Plain old onions, peeled and cut into big chunks.
Carrots. . . Scrape 'em, and cut 'em up -- small or large, depending on your preference.
Celery. . . Get rid of the strings, and chop up a few stalks. I don't always include celery; it's not vital, and I'm not crazy about it.
Other additions (all optional): Mushrooms, sliced water chestnuts, sweet potatoes (highly recommended!) or white potatoes (add them 1/2 way through the cooking process)

(Yikes. Those are some sad-looking veggies I pulled out of the vegetable crisper. Ick.)

And the secret ingredient: Chili Sauce.

Do not buy this (below)! It's for shrimp, not stew.
(Sadly, I speak from e
xperience. . . .)
Not Cocktail Sauce (like above), as that contains horseradish, just Chili Sauce.
I don't have a bottle in the house, therefore: no picture, sorry!
House brand is OK. Buy at least 2 bottles, and get 3 if you have a lot of stew.

Here's the really easy part: turn on your oven to 375-degrees, put the cubed meat and the raw veggies into a nice heavy stockpot or Dutch oven, and mix them up. Then, dump in the Chili Sauce. (See note below.) Put it all in the pot, and pop it into the hot oven. You are done. Go read a magazine.

(Note: I usually need 2 bottles of chili sauce to give enough liquid. You can add some wine or stock to make it a little moister. The ingredients should not be swimming in liquid, just moist, and you should be able to see the sauce if you push aside some meat & veg and peek down.)

Let it bubble away in the oven until it is done. The meat should be fall-apart tender.
I find that usually takes about 3-1/2 hours, sometimes a little longer. Stir every once in awhile. I begin the process with the stew covered, then uncover it for the last hour or so. You may need to add liquid, but probably not.

No browning the meat beforehand. No fiddling with seasonings; it's all in the chili sauce.
Makes its own gravy! (Okay, who remembers that commercial?)

I guess you could simplify it even more by using pre-cut stew meat, and frozen vegetables; I just haven't tried that yet. It would probably work in a crock pot, too.

You can serve it as-is, especially if you've added white potatoes, but it is also good with broad egg noodles. Even my Girl Scouts liked this stew, way back when I had Girl Scouts.

I apologize for the lack of pictures in this blog post, and also to Karyl Bannister of Cook & Tell in case I have totally butchered her original recipe!

Enjoy Foodie Friday.
Have a lovely weekend. . . Cass

Helloooooo! Anybody home?

I am trying to put together a slideshow tour of That Old House.
It would be much easier if I knew what I was doing! Wish me luck.

Hello? Hello? Anyone upstairs?


  1. Hi Cass
    I have been spending time here in your "nice house". I have to say it really is beautiful.
    May I ask about the pink vase on your pretty TT table from yesterday. I see it has initials on the front.
    I LOVE IT!! Is it pottery?
    Just wanted to say how precious it looks and I'm glad you found your hidden bottle lol
    Love Claudie
    P.S. I remember your "love" post about the couple with Alzheimer's. Very touching.

  2. Your stew recipe sounds sooooo good. I will definitely give it a try. Hugs, Marty

  3. Cass --

    Lavender is easy to grow. Doesn't mind the heat -- there may be an issue with cold. On the prairie, it loves our summers but sometimes I lose it if we have really cold winters and no snow to protect (which sometimes happens). I know it grows in New England so would assume it would grow where you live. It is a great plant and I love it -- even if you do nothing else but smell itin the garden -- that is worth growing lavender alone!

    Check with one of your Universities Extension Offices and see if they have something that may help about where to plant, protection, etc.

    Long comment -- and all about lavender!

  4. You are totally cracking me up with this post. I love stew but unfortunately my husband doesn't. I may have to give your recipe a try though, I just won't share with the hubby. lol.

  5. Hello Cass...

    Just wanted to stop by and say thank you for taking a peek at my "Brume de Rose" tablescape and leaving such a sweet comment!

    My friend, I just love your home! What a beautiful wood staircase! I do wish you luck with your video...I know I would certainly need it...I'm so illiterate when it comes to all this technical stuff...hehe! I also wanted to mention how much I enjoyed your last post...that coffee table is fabulous and definitely unique! I love it!!!

    Warmest wishes,
    Chari your stew recipe, I have never heard of adding chili sauce but it sounds great, I'll have to give it a try!

  6. What a beautiful home you have. I can smell the stew cooking from here!

  7. We are having snow here in West Texas today and stew is on our menu for tonight..with a fresh onion and cornbread, dripping with butter..
    You have a beautiful home!

  8. GM Cass this looks and sounds too easy girl..I have never made stew in the oven before...I use my crock pot all the time...will try this one for sure..can't wait to see your wonderful home in a slide show how fun will that be...May you have a GREAT day dear friend...hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

  9. Hi that's a new one on me...adding chili sauce to stew, but sounds good! I just made stew last week & you'd have thought I'd done something extra special from the smile on hubby's face...LOL
    I sure hope you get the slideshow worked out...I'd LOVE to see your gorgeous home! ;-) Bo

  10. That is such an interesting recipe with good stuff - will have to try it! Linda

  11. This sounds easy and delicious--my type of favorite recipe. Your house looks great!

  12. Well, your entryway shots are gorgeous!!!

  13. I'm always up for new idea's for stew. I've never made it the same way twice. This looks great, especially since you don't have to brown the meat. Funny, I was going to post a stew recipe but ran out of time! So, the chili sauce is the key?? Hmmm... lots of flavor there! Will try!! ;-)

    I would LOVE to see more pictures of That Old House! I feel I know her! It IS a she?


  14. Hey Cass! I added this recipe to my list to try! Thanks girl!
    Thanks for stopping in!

    Tales from Bloggeritaville

  15. Happy Foodie Friday! Have a great weekend ~ Susan

  16. I'll definitly be trying that stew recipe. I made you grandmother's cake and it was a keeper, so I'm pretty confident that this will be good too.

  17. I use LB for stew too! Very economical tasty meal, I think!
    I was on your fork today, hit WSonoma and Home Goods in Riverhead..

  18. Hi, this is my first visit, you commented on my black and white tea tray for TT. Thank you so much for the visit. I hope we see each other again.
    P.S. I loved the doggies.

  19. Your stew sounds so satisfying...nice on a cold night! Love the photos of your house...

  20. I had to chuckle at your chili sauce vs. cocktail sause snafu .. I've done that before.

  21. Thanks for the easy recipe, Cass! I will definitely try it!! Have a great weekend...Debbie

  22. Hi, Cass, I popped over from my sister's blog. When I saw your comment about CKCSs, I just had to visit!

    Your Blenheims are precious. I loved scrolling through your posts (which were all great!) looking for photos of Connie and Dion. We have two Cavaliers: Chester (a Blenheim, age 13 1/2!!) and Charley (a Tri-Color, almost 7).

    We are just besotted by them. I read once that Cavaliers are like potato chips ... you can't have just one! :-) I would love to have one of each color (at the same time!), but I don't thing we'll ever fulfill that desire. I'd love a Ruby next, but my husband likes the Black & Tan!

    Weekend blessings,

    PS-Your stew recipe sounds delicious ... and filling. I will most certainly try it, especially since my 18-year nephew is visiting right now. Sounds like a good and satisfying meal for a growing boy!

  23. I always have chili sauce in the house because I like it on scrambled eggs. Never would have thought to add it to stew, but sounds really good. Might turn my husband in to a stew lover!!! Have a good weekend...Nancy

  24. I would have never thought of adding chili sauce to stew but it actually sounds good!

    You have a great sense of humor :-)


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