Jessie Thomas of Ellicott City sent in a request for a recipe for an "old-fashioned" beef stew. Mildred Wise of Baltimore shared a recipe she says she has been using for more than 50 years for beef stew that sounds like what Thomas is looking for. It is a basic recipe, nothing fancy, but tried and true. Her recipe instructions have the stew cooked atop the stove in a Dutch oven.
I have found that beef stew works just as well when made in a slow cooker or low oven. You can follow the same basic instructions, but if using a slow cooker, brown the meat on the stove top and then transfer it to the slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients.
If you elect to make it in your oven, brown the meat on the stove, then add the water, tomatoes and spices and cook covered, in the oven, at 275 degrees for about 3 hours, adding the vegetables after the first hour and a half. The beauty of beef stew is that it is adaptable to different cooking methods. The key is to cook it slow and low. I have found that no matter which method you use, it always seems to taste better the next day.
* Sandra Byrd of Brooklyn, in South Baltimore, is looking for a recipe for peanut butter fudge.
* Jackie Pennisi of Baltimore is looking for a recipe for Italian cookies called "Casa Telena" that her husband's grandmother used to make. They were shaped like a box with no lid and may have ground cloves, nuts and orange marmalade inside the box.
If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request, write to Julie Rothman, Recipe Finder, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278, or e-mail email@example.com. Letters may be edited for clarity. Old-Fashioned Beef Stew
Makes: 6 servings
pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2 -inch cubes
tablespoons vegetable oil
14 1/2 -ounce can diced tomatoes
cup diced celery
small onions, quartered
medium-sized carrots, quartered
medium-sized potatoes, cut into eighths
medium-sized green pepper, cut into 8 squares
Roll beef cubes in flour to lightly coat them. Heat oil in Dutch oven over moderately high heat. Add beef, in portions so the cubes are not touching, and cook until the beef is browned on all sides. Add water and tomatoes with their juice. Stir in cloves, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Simmer, covered over very low heat, for 1 1/2 hours. Add celery, onions, carrots and potatoes. Continue to simmer, covered, for half an hour longer, or until meat and vegetables are almost tender. Add green peppers during the last 10 minutes of cooking. Remove from heat and cool. Remove bay leaf before serving.
Per serving: 355 calories, 19 grams fat, 6 grams saturated fat, 22 grams carbohydrates, 24 grams protein, 3 grams fiber, 70 milligrams cholesterol, 800 milligrams sodium
Note: Nutritional analyses in today's Taste section were conducted by registered dietitian Jodie Shields unless otherwise stated.