My nose is cold, my toes’re froze, and here come the fall sniffles! This means war! I’m going all-out “Barney Fife” on you cold and “nip you in the bud“! A big ol’ pot of spicy, southwestern-style beef stew to the rescue! Hearty chunks of slow-simmered beef, a bushel-full of veggies, all bathing in a rich, spicy, gravy-like sauce…mmmhmmm! Nasty cold – – you don’t stand a chance!
Low-grade fever, meh, no biggie. Body aches…getting a little bit on my nerves and slowing me down. But, DANGIT!, I hate a runny nose. It’s nothing but a horrible nuisance. And pricy toilet paper that isn’t worth a dime and falls apart should just plain be outlawed! I just love little bits of TP stuck to my now rosy red nose. I look like Rudolph with snowflakes. I’m sure it’s going to be all the rage this winter. A big box of kleenex is definitely on the newly started grocery list…. aarrgg.
So if you’re feeling the aches, pains, sniffles ‘n sneezes of fall too right now, this stew is one of my favorites that’s a must-make every single year. I’ve been making this for so long that I don’t even recall when exactly it was that I finally fiddled with it long enough to call it “done” and shared it with a magazine that I love. But they loved it too, and it was one of many of my recipes that I have shared with them and got published in Taste of Home magazine. My Aunt Patty from a small town down in Bridgeport, Illinois, first got me started with this magazine when she sent me a copy of one of their very first issues more than 25 years ago! I won one of their contests with another recipe of mine, and have been one of their Field Editors ever since. I have long lost count, but it was 1997 I think??, (for my “Rye Party Puffs”), that I first became one of their volunteers! That recipe of mine also won in Better Homes & Gardens magazine, also. I’ll have to remake those soon for you, too!
So enough of some of my little “credentials” if you will, this recipe needs nothing but a big ol’ spoon and some good old-fashioned saltine crackers if you like. I love some in mine! But if I happen to have some sturdy, homemade bread or biscuits for soppin’ ‘n dippin’, then the crackers can wait until the last bowl of the pot when the homemade bread is all gone! But even if you enjoy yours with nothing but a spoon, it’s rich, thick and hearty enough to hold it’s own. A little bit spicy but not hot and burn your throat kind of heat. Just right. Loaded with hunks of melt-in-your-mouth tender chuck roast, and chockfull of chunks of fresh baby carrots, potatoes, celery, tomatoes and onions! What’s not to love?! It’s wonnnnderful!! So good that my hubby and I have no trouble devouring a pot all by ourselves within 3 days without having to freeze a drop! *But, it does freeze well if need be.
So if the sniffle ‘n sneeze monster has hit your house too, especially after Trick or Treating and all of those Halloween Parties, this hearty stew will chase the chills away, warm you from head to toe, and goes a long way to take care of the entire family throughout the whole weekend! Or simmer a pot on Sunday and have piping hot bowls of this heartwarming stew for lunches! (Reheats beautifully in the microwave.) And if you have a large family, there’s no reason why you couldn’t stretch this out a bit further and add a cup or 2 of a fun-shaped, cooked pasta such as “wagon wheel”! Hope you enjoy all, and not because you have a cold! Just cuz. 😉 Have a fantastic day!! 🙂 And Happy Halloween! 😀
SPICY SOUTHWESTERN CHUCK WAGON STEW
2 1/2 – 3 lbs. chuck roast, trimmed of all fat and cut into LARGE bite-sized pieces, (arm or blade roast can be subbed)
2 Tbl. flour
1 Tbl. paprika
1 1/4 tsp. quality chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. onion powder
4 Tbl. (1/4 cup) butter flavored shortening (yes you need this much and I like Crisco’s)
2 onions, diced large
1 (28 oz.) can stewed tomatoes with the juice and coarse-crushed with your hands, (*I prefer Hunt’s)
1 Tbl. quality chili powder
1 large bay leaf or 2 smaller ones
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can beef broth
1 Tbl. red wine
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1 Tbl. butter
1 tsp. sugar
1 small bag (or 15-20) baby carrots cut into thirds (fourths for the larger ones), or as desired (*can sub 4 regular peeled carrots)
4-5 medium-sized red or Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled and cut into hearty bite-sized chunks
1 large or 2 smaller ribs celery, thickly sliced
1 (11 oz.) can of corn, (I like whole shoepeg because it holds it’s shape and is much better)
2 Tbl. cornstarch
2 Tbl. cold water
Special toppings and such for party-style or just for extra fun! :
pickled jalapeño slices
sliced green onions or chives
grated sharp cheddar or pepper jack cheese
saltine crackers, crusty bread or rolls, or biscuits
Cut up beef into large, double bite-sized chunks trimming all fat. (*Beef shrinks as it cooks so go much larger than you would think.) Set aside.
In large mixing bowl, mix well the next 6 (dry) ingredients.
Add large chunks of beef and toss with a large spoon to coat each piece well. (*Shaking in a bag does not work well. A bowl and large spoon works perfectly.) Set aside.
In large heavy-bottomed stock pot that has a lid, add shortening and melt over medium-high heat. Swirl around pan and add meat all at once. Let sit a minute before trying to stir. Then stir now and then to brown pieces on all sides.
Add next 9 ingredients, cover, reduce heat until simmering, and simmer for about 45 minutes until meat is tender, stirring only occasionally.
Add potatoes, carrots and celery, recover, bring back to a boil, reduce heat and simmer again for another 30-35 minutes until veggies are tender.
Add corn with or without juice depending on brand. (If it seems to be canned in a lot of juice, just drain some before adding.) Heat through.
Remove lid and bring up to a nice simmer without the lid. Mix cornstarch and cold water and stir into pot to thicken. Simmer 1-2 more minutes.
*Don’t forget to remove the bay leaves before serving….or leave one in there and whoever gets it has to do the dishes! 😉
Other veggie additions or swap outs can be turnips, any variety of peppers mild to hot, peas, green beans, sweet potatoes, chopped cabbage, zucchini or squash, or add some fresh kale or spinach at the end and simmer until tender.
**If serving at a party, check out the fun toppings you can set out on the side for guests to choose from at the bottom of the ingredient list!