I come from a long line a great cooks. Both of my grandmothers, Granny Pawlica (my dad’s mom) and my Busia Misiak (my mom’s mom) were wonderful cooks. My Granny and Busia cooked great Polish meals. They could whip up pierogi faster than most people can whip up ready-made pancakes. I used to love the holidays, Christmas Eve Wilgilia, house hopping from Granny’s to Busia’s, walking in the house to the smells of holiday food, pierogi, kielbasa and kraut, crepes, cucumbers in sour cream, kasha, herring, …..if I close my eyes I can see the spread on the dining room table.
My mom (Leona) is also a wonderful cook. Growing up we didn’t eat out much, a fish fry take out from Lenak’s bar during lent was a treat, however my mom could make a mean fried fish dinner that was equally delicious. My mom cooked everyday and she didn’t throw together meals, we had delicious, restaurant worthy meals; beef stroganoff, three-meat spaghetti, stuffed cabbage, pork chops, meat balls, meat loaf, multiple chicken recipes, stews and more. We always had a salad, a main course, potatoes or pasta and a veggie, We always had rolls or fresh bread. AND….we ALWAYS ate dinner TOGETHER.
It wasn’t just my mom and grandmother’s who contributed to my love of cooking. My Dziadzia (my mom’s dad) was also pretty good in the kitchen, he made the best chicken noodle soup (which he attributed to using the pieces of chicken with the most fat…..I know, I know, but it was/is delicious!) and great meatballs and gravy. My aunt’s on both sides of the family are very good cooks as well and I have things that I make that I learned from them.
So as you can see, my love of cooking is a family tradition. Although I do like to try out new recipes I do have my “comfort foods.” Recipes that I learned from my mom and from family that I just can’t bring myself to changed or modify. Meals, that when I make them, bring back memories of childhood……the kitchen on Martin Street or Christmas at my grandparents…….I find comfort in my “comfort food(s).”
So today I am going to share with you my mom’s beef stew. Over the years I have tried a few others but I keep coming back to the one I grew up on. A tasty stew that simmer’s on the stove for hours, filling the house with wonderful aromas and my mind with great childhood memories bringing comfort on a cold winters night.
My Mom’s Beef Stew
1.5 lbs. Stew beef
2 tbls. Shortening
1 can Beef Broth (10 3/4 oz. can)
1 can Tomato soup (10 3/4 oz. can)
1/2 can Water
1/4 tsp. Thyme – crushed
4 Medium carrots – cut in 2″ pieces
1 Small onion – sliced
4 Medium potatoes – peeled and quartered
Salt & Pepper
- In a heavy pan brown meat in the shortening – drain fat
- Add soups, water and seasoning (salt and pepper to taste)
- Cover – Simmer for 1.5 hours
- Add carrots, potatoes and onion slices
- Cover – Cook for additional 1-hour or until potatoes and carrots are tender
- Stir now and then
*Uncover until desired consistency OR add water/flour rue (1 tbsp. of cold water to 1 tbsp. of flour)