I was born in Belleville, Illinois. In case you have never heard of Belleville (and I’m guessing you probably haven’t), it is located in the southern-most tip of Illinois and is a bridge away from St. Louis, Missouri. My mom grew up in Belleville, my parents met there, and we spent parts of our summer and Christmas breaks there when we were kids. Belleville for me is lots of happy memories with grandparents, uncles, cousins, and neighbors. It makes me think of afternoon bowling, lightning bugs, dollar movies in the cool old theater and potato salad.
Meat and potatoes is what you eat when you’re in the midwest, and since my mom grew up there, it’s what she does best. I can remember one Christmas at my grandparents house I had strep throat. I couldn’t play with my cousins and couldn’t eat for days. When I was finally feeling better my mom asked me what I wanted to eat. I told her, “beef and rice!,” which is my mom’s really awesome version of stewed beef. Comfort food at its best.
I made it last night and served it over egg noodles (we already had rice a time or two this week) and it was cozy and happy and awesome.
Cut your stew meat into bite size pieces and dredge through flour. Shake off the excess.
Then brown the meat in a non-stick skillet or dutch oven- Your pan needs to be sort of deep to hold all the gravy.
Once the meat is nicely browned, add a package of beef stew seasoning mix
And then add about 3 cups of water. Stir and bring to a boil.
Cover and simmer on low heat for 30 or 40 minutes. You’ll be glad you did. I promise.
Mom’s Stew Beef
1 pound stew meat cut into bite size pieces (here’s a tip- you need about a package of seasoning for every pound of meat)
1 cup of flour
1 tablespoon oil
black pepper to taste
1 package beef stew seasoning
3 cups of water
Evenly coat the pieces of beef with the flour and shake off the excess. Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet, sprinkle the beef with black pepper and then brown over medium high heat. Add the beef stew seasoning and three cups of water. Stir until the seasoning is dissolved and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low or medium low, cover, and simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occassionally. The longer you cook, the more tender it will be, and you can add a little more water if you feel like the gravy has gotten too thick. Serve over brown or white rice, or mashed potatoes, or egg noodles, or WHATEVER- it will be really good no matter how you eat it. Thank you, Momma.