You don’t need fancy ingredients to prepare a tasty stew (but if you do check out this stew recipe). Get the least tender cuts of meat and by stewing it, it will turn tender and juicy. The rich sauce is just so perfect for scooping it up with some crusty bread. In some parts of Europe, including my homeland Bosnia, using a piece of bread as main tool to mop up any deliciousness on your plate is viewed as a compliment to the hostess. It’s not our eating etiquette by any means – it just shows how much you enjoy her tasty meal but you won’t offend her by using utensils. I want to make that clear before you get in such situation and think it’d be rude not to move food from a plate to your mouth with just a piece of bread. It is also not the most polite demonstration at nice restaurants, by the way. Generally, we like to take time eating. Our traditional dishes take hour(s) to prepare so it’s not uncommon to spend even more time savoring every bite.
2 pounds stew Beef (or beef chuck cut into 2-inch pieces)
2 large Onions, chopped
1 clove Garlic, minced
2 Bay Leaves
1 large Carrot, sliced (optional)
1 teaspoon smoked Paprika
1 teaspoon freshly ground black Pepper
2 teaspoons Salt
2 tablespoons Tomato paste
2 cups Water
1 tablespoon Flour
2 tablespoons Oil
Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add meat to the pot and cook, stirring rarely, until browned all over, about 5-10 minutes. Searing meat cubes like this is a key to creating the kind of rich, caramelized flavors that make stews irresistibly good. Add bay leaves, onions, garlic and carrots. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper, and paprika. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and just starting to brown, about five minutes.
Sprinkle in the flour and cook until the raw flavor has cooked off, about two minutes. Pour in the water and tomato paste, scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pot, and increase the heat to bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the meat is knife tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Remove and discard the bay leaves before serving. Spoon the stew over potatoes or egg noodles.
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