Man Made Meal: Harvest Stew

A man must be the master of his domain, which extends into the kitchen. Even if you're no Jamie Oliver, every guy can master this delicious and simple beef stew.

In the colder months, there's nothing quite like a warm bowl of stew.  Living in California though, it never really gets that cold, so I've come to enjoy this delicious dish any time I'm in the mood for beefy goodness.  The beautiful thing about a stew is it's simple, full of flavor, and can be personalized however you want it to be.  Love mushrooms? Toss 'em in.  Hate peppers?  Don't use 'em!

As a fan of beef, my stew is chock full of protein but mixed in with more than it's fair share of tasty vegetables, from multiple kinds of peppers to mushrooms, carrots, and potatoes.

Here are the basics of what you'll need, along with a few of my favorites.

•    2 pounds of beef
•    Vegetable Oil
•    Worcestershire Sauce
•    Spices like Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, and Paprika
•    Carrots
•    Peppers
•    Jalapenos, to taste
•    Two potatoes
•    Mushrooms
•    2 tablespoons corn starch
•    Any other vegetables you heart (and stomach) desires

To start, take that massive mound of beef and cut it into about one inch cubes. In a large pot, add two tablespoons of vegetable oil and let it heat on medium or medium high.  Toss in your cubed beef and brown on all sides.  Once browned, add in your spices and the Worcestershire Sauce. Stir, cover and let it simmer on low heat for an hour to an hour and a half.

Go have a sit down and watch some TV for awhile. Before your time runs out on the simmer though, return to the kitchen and prepare your vegetables.  Skin the carrots if necessary, and then slice everything up into bite sized pieces.  Vegetables that are high in fiber or starch (peppers, potatoes) will take longer to cook than vegetables like mushrooms, so you might want to throw the potatoes and peppers in first and then fifteen minutes later, add mushrooms, carrots, corn, peas, hey man – anything you want in your stew.  You're going to cook this, still on pretty low heat, for another thirty minutes, or until all your vegetables are cooked.

If you've used a lot of watery vegetables, you may want to drain off just a little, or just use more corn starch.  What you do here is take out two cups of your broth and mix that in a bowl with two tablespoons of corn starch.  Dump that back in and stir it up. The corn starch is going to thicken your stew. Turn the heat up and cook until it's thickened and bubbly hot.  Turn off the stove, go cut up some bread, then ladle your stew into a bowl.

Now all you've got to do is eat! Any left-overs will last 3-5 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 or so months in the freezer.  See, that wasn't so hard, was it?

Do you have any tips for making your man made meal more delicious? Keep it going in the comments.

Robert Fure is a fitness, lifestyle, and entertainment writer living in Los Angeles. He is also a certified Personal Trainer and the Creator/Editor of Fit and Furious, an online outlet dedicated to the pursuit of a fit lifestyle. His entertainment work can be viewed at Film School Rejects.