When I was a kid, my mom used to make a simple stew known as Grizzly Bear. It involved things like a can of Campbell’s Tomato Soup, something you won’t find in my pantry. Last night I had a yen for some GBS, so I picked up a hunk of meat and a couple of vegetables and did some improvising. It turns out that whatever I did was the best batch of said stew EVER. When that happens, I try to record what I did so it has a chance to be replicated.
2# chuck roast
1/2 white onion, chopped fine
couple cloves garlic, minced
1 pint frozen roasted tomatoes (or 1-14 ounce can roasted tomatoes)
1/2 # sliced mushrooms
a couple of roasted red peppers, chopped fine
2 small carrots, peeled and sliced thin
2 sticks celery, sliced thin
1 small white potato, peeled and sliced thin
seasonings: some spice blend (I used Penzeys Mural of Flavor, herbes de Provence would be a good substitute), salt, pepper, dried basil, bay leaf
Chop beef into 1” cubes. dredge in flour seasoned with spice blend, s and p
Brown beef cubes in cast iron skillet with oil. Do smallish batches so the meat is not crowded, adding more oil as needed.Toss meat in crock pot as you go. Brown onions and garlic, add to crock pot. Deglaze pan with lots of sherry, around 2 cups. Add liquid to crock pot. Add roasted peppers and frozen tomatoes, no need to thaw them. Add two bay leaves. Add a little bit of cold water to the last of the flour you were dredging in, mix to remove lumps, and add to crock pot.
Cook overnight on low heat. In the morning, add mushrooms, carrots, celery, potato, dried basil. Adjust seasonings as needed. Cook just until the vegetables are soft.
Enjoy with bread and butter and a green salad. This dish freezes well, and is better the second day.