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This is the recipe for beef stew that we served at Hizzoner's.  One of the 'comfort foods' that Hizzoner's Beef Steweverybody loved.

I never used "stew meat", you know the cubes of beef they sell in the supermarket as stew meat.   Usually that stuff is pretty much useless, way too much gristle and fat and not enough real lean meat for my taste.  

Here's my secret.

If you want to make really good stews or braised beef use the cut called 'flap meat' or 'special trim'.  This cut comes from the loin of the beef from a smaller muscle that is frequently used to process into marinated steaks or fajita strips. The meat may also be cut into thin strips for use in Asian stir-frys.  Flap meat may also be mechanically tenderized and sold as cube steaks.    Ask your grocer or butcher about flap meat.  Once you find it and use it you will find that it makes the most silky and succulent braised beef ever and it has a much better flavor than anything else you've ever tried for a stew.

Remember, if you are going to make stew or braised beef, always make more than you know you will use right away and freeze the leftover meet and gravy to make wonderful beef and barley or beefy vegetable soups.

Recipe By     : Sitara
Serving Size  : 4   Preparation Time :2:00
Categories    : Stews    Main Dishes

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
   --------     ------------        --------------------------------
     2-3        lbs                  beef flap meat  - cut into large cubes
     4           medium        carrots -  sliced into thick chunks
     2           large              stalks of celery - cut into thick diagonal slices
     2           large              onions -  coarse chop
     1           large              potato - cut into large cubes (more potato if you like more in your stew)
     1                                   bay leaf
     1          teaspoon       oregano
   1/2       teaspoon       black pepper
     1          can                 diced tomatoes in juice
     1          cup                 red wine
     2          cups               beef stock

1.  Heat your large stew pot and add a bit of olive oil, when it starts to smoke drop in the beef and brown it on all sides.   Really brown the meat well, you want a bit of crust on it.  Browning not only gives your stew better flavor it also gives your stew a deeper color.   I hate 'grey' meat.

2.  Add the red wine and beef stock, stir to scrape up all the goodie bits off the bottom of the pot.  When it comes back to a boil, add the onions, bay leaf, black pepper and diced tomatoes.  The liquid should just cover the meat, barely.  
     Turn the heat down to low and put the lid on.  Let  it simmer for a good 45 minutes, stir occasionally.

3.  After this time is up take out a piece of the beef and try to cut it with a fork.  If you can't get a fork through the meat it's not ready yet.   Let it simmer for another 10 minutes or so.    Check again, and once you can start to feel the meat has "let go"   and you can almost get a fork through it you are ready to proceed.

4.  Add the carrots, celery, potato and oregano and simmer with the lid half off until the vegetables are tender.   By the time your  vegetables are tender the meat should be fork tender as well.

If you like your stew with a thicker stock, use a little cornstarch dissolved in water to thicken it.     Taste for seasonings.

Serve with a crusty bread and a bottle of good red wine.