Not that Shirley, our friend Shirley who used to live down the street until we moved. We still go over there every Friday (we have Date Night with her) and sit and visit after the kids get home from school. No matter what she makes for dinner, the kids eat it. I've made stuff at home and smuggled it into her house and she's served it as if it was hers and they've licked the plates clean, whereas at MY house they would turn their noses up at it.
This is her recipe for beef stew. It's rather a loose recipe, and I've used my imagination along the way and adapted it for what I have on hand, so feel free to morph it yourself and judge quantities based on your family and number of servings.
Shirley's Beef Stew
1 lb. beef stew meat, cut into bite size cubes
flour for coating meat
vegetable oil for browning meat and sauteeing veggies
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
a couple of handfuls of peeled, baby carrots, cut in half
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup red wine
2 cans of diced tomatoes (14 oz)
4 cups beef broth / beef stock /or water with Better Than Bullion swished in it to make 4 cups
1 cup dry pasta, shape of your choice
parmesean and crusty bread for topping
Take the bite size cubes of meat and flour them all sides - I throw them in a plastic grocery bag (check for holes first!) along with a cup or so of flour, a teaspoon of salt and a couple of grinds of black pepper. Leave some air in the bag and tightly twist the top to seal. Over the sink please, shake, shake, shake until all pieces are evenly coated. Add more flour if needed. Reserve some of the flour for thickening the stew if needed at the end.
Brown the meat all sides in a large dutch oven or pot, working in batches so that the pot doesn't cool off and so that any extra moisture doesn't steam the meat. Remove all meat from the pot and set aside.
Pour in the beef stock and red wine, deglazing the pan if needed. Add the meat back to the pot, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.
After 1 hour, add the dry pasta to the pot and cook for time indicated on the package. Add more liquid if needed, or conversely use some of the reserved flour to thicken.
Serve with crusty bread and a dusting of parmesean cheese.