Ground Beef Short Cut Stew
1 pound lean ground beef
4 cups peeled diced potatoes*
2 cups peeled sliced carrots*
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 envelope dry beef onion soup mix
1 teaspoon browning, ie Kitchen Bouquet, optional
3-4 cups water
Pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoon cornstarch**
Prepare recipe using either method below.
STOVE TOP METHOD – most flavorful method.
Place beef in heavy pan or Dutch oven; break meat into chunks; place on medium to medium high heat and allow meat to brown without stirring. As needed, turn chunks of meat to allow browning on all sides, but avoid stirring and breaking apart chunks.
Add potatoes, carrots, garlic salt, soup mix, optional browning and enough water to almost cover meat and vegetables. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and simmer 20-30 minutes or until vegetables are tender; season to taste with pepper.
To convert from a soup to a stew, thicken with cornstarch. Stir cornstarch into 1/2 cup cold water, gently stir into stew and bring to a boil; boil 1-2 minutes.
CROCK-POT METHOD – less favorable, but more convenient if preparing ahead.
Break raw ground beef into chunks. Place beef, potatoes, carrots, garlic salt, soup mix and optional browning agent in 2-3 qt crock-pot. Add enough water to almost cover meat and vegetables. Cover and cook on high 5-6 hours. Stir cornstarch into 1/2 cup cool water, gently stir into meat and vegetables in crock-pot. Cover and allow to cook until thick; season to taste with pepper.
Notes: To complete meal, add glass milk and a whole grain bread. Recipe serves 4.
* May substitute potatoes and carrots with a total combination of 6 cups fresh vegetables.
** Cornstarch varies to allow personal preference in thickening. Decrease cornstarch or eliminate for soup or thin stew.
For nutrition analysis and menu ideas go to www.dairycouncilutnv.org