I am a meat and potatoes girl. All the way. If I had to choose a last meal, this would be it. Beef stew, even a local Hawaii favorite. Mashed potatoes, satisfies my inner cravings for Thanksgiving food. (See our post on how to use Thanksgiving Leftovers!)
When beef tips or chuck steak go on sale, or when I can get a larger pack at Costco, my first thought is to make a big pot of stew, and freeze half of it for later. For a while, I would pull up whatever came up on Pinterest first, but the more often I made this delicious dish, I found the elements I liked best and developed my own version.
Cooking vs. Baking
Cooking is like any other skill you develop, the more you do it, you start to see the same basic patterns and then it becomes second nature. I thought I had to always follow recipes precisely to get it exactly right, but once I started noticing patterns (i.e., oil first and then sautée the aromatics like onions and garlic before the meat goes in… or bring everything to a boil before you simmer it for a period of time). There is room for experimenting and flexibility in cooking. Baking, on the other hand, is more of a precise practice. Exact measurements are important as ingredients affect each other differently in a batter rather than a pot where fluids can be added or cooked off.
Once you start seeing the same process over and over, you can add or change ingredients when you know how they’re affected by the process. So I am happy to share my version of beef stew and potatoes with you! I’ll explain a few insights I’ve learned through each step to help you on your cooking journey!