Your grandparents were right: food prepared in a cast iron skillet is mouthwatering and memorable. Dutch Oven and Cast Iron Cooking (Fox Chapel Publishing, 2013) delves into that tradition with over 75 delicious recipes for the Dutch oven, stovetop, oven, campfire, or grill. Editor Katie Weeber provides instructions for both inside and outside cooking methods. This Chuck Wagon Beef Stew Recipe is from the chapter “Main Dishes.”
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Chuck Wagon Beef Stew
1/2 (16 oz.) pkg. baby carrots
1 C. frozen corn or mixed vegetables
2 T. flour
1 tsp. paprika
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder, divided
1 tsp. salt
1 lb. cubed beef stew meat
3 T. olive oil
1 C. chopped onion
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
3 C. beef broth or bouillon
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Seasoned salt and pepper to taste
Shaved Parmesan cheese, optional
Fresh basil leaves, optional
Scrub and cube potatoes. Peel and slice parsnips. Place potatoes, parsnips, carrots and corn in a large bowl; reserve for later use. In a gallon-size resealable plastic bag, combine flour, paprika, 1 teaspoon chili powder and salt. Add beef and shake to coat cubes well.
On the Stove and in the Oven
Preheat oven to 275°F. Meanwhile, place skillet on stovetop over medium-high heat and add oil. When hot, brown meat on all sides. Add onion; sauté until tender. Stir in garlic and sauté briefly. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in broth, red pepper flakes, remaining 1/2 teaspoon chili powder and reserved vegetables. Sprinkle with seasoned salt and pepper.
Cover skillet and transfer to oven. Cook about 3 hours or until meat is very tender.
Over the Fire (16+ hot coals)
Spread hot coals in flat layer underneath Dutch oven and add oil. When hot, brown meat on all sides. Add onion; sauté until tender. Stir in garlic and sauté briefly. Stir in broth, red pepper flakes, remaining 1/2 teaspoon chili powder and reserved vegetables. Sprinkle with seasoned salt and pepper. Cover pot with lid.
Rearrange about 1/2 hot coals to make cooking ring underneath Dutch oven; place remaining hot coals on lid. Simmer slowly for 2 to 3 hours, rotating pot and lid several times every hour and replenishing coals on top and bottom as needed to maintain cooking temperature. If necessary, add water to keep liquid at a low simmer.
Alternate Cooking Method
Use a kitchen-style Dutch oven with lid on a grate over medium heat (hot coals or gas grill), simmering until tender. Adjust cooking time as needed.
Add chopped tomatoes and mushrooms to stew.
Serve steaming hot in bowls, garnished with Parmesan cheese and basil, if desired.
Reprinted with permission from Dutch Oven and Cast Iron Cooking edited by Katie Weeber and published by Fox Chapel Publishing, 2013. Buy this book from our store: Dutch Oven and Cast Iron Cooking.