First, you'll need the following items:
2 Russet Potatoes (peeled)
3-4 Large Carrots (peeled)
1 Medium yellow onion (not a purple one, it will be bitter)
1 Can of corn (drained)
1 Can of peas (drained)
4 Cans of tomato sauce
2 Cloves of Minced Garlic
1-2 lbs of Hamburger (depending on how meaty you want it)
Additional ingredients you can add
* If you add a starch like the noodles or barley, pre-cook them separately and add to the stew at the end. Otherwise they will be overcooked and really mushy.
Once you have all your ingredients, I like to brown my meat while I am chopping the veggies. I add the minced garlic in with the hamburger. I also season the hamburger very heavily with salt, pepper and a bit of cayenne. I season my meat very heavily to where it would be inedible by itself, but once you mix it in the stew pot, it releases the spices into the stew. Also, make sure you drain your meat, I hate fat floating on the top of my stew.
While your meat is browning, chop your potatoes, carrots and onion. I like to do a small-medium chop. The smaller the pieces the less time the stew will take to cook. However, if you chop them too small your veggies will not retain their structure and you'll end up with a bunch of mush.
After you have chopped all your veggies, put them in the largest pot you have, this will make 8-10 servings (and It makes good left overs too). Pour in your drained cans of corn and peas too. Then add your four cans of tomato sauce. Once your hamburger is drained, add it to the large pot as well.
Then, add water to your stew. Add enough water to cover the veggies. The more water you add the looser your stew will be, but if you don't add enough, your stew will be sludge like. As your stew is cooking, you can always add more water if it feels too thick. I also like to salt my stew once everything is combined.
Put the pot on the stove at a medium heat for 2 hours. Make sure you stir the stew a few times, but it isn't something that needs to be babysat. I also like to taste my stew around 1.5 hours to make sure it has enough salt and pepper.
You're stew will be done when all your veggies are fork tender. I like my veggies rather soft, but you can take it off the stove when you have your desired softness.
I like to serve my stew with a side of Saltine crackers, just like grandma does it :) I hope you like my family's stew, it's one of my favorites!
Does your family have a version of this recipe? What would you add to your stew?