My memories of homemade beef stew are kind of fuzzy. I remember my paternal grandmother making it, but I think I was too young to really pay much attention to how she did it. I remember my mother making it in a cast iron skillet, but it was not something she made very often. She would usually made vegetable beef soup instead. I do remember that my grandmother’s and my mom’s stews were not the same. My mom often included tomatoes in her stew broth, while my grandmother did not.
I also do know that it is highly unlikely that either my grandmother or my mom used bone-in beef shank to make stew. It was not a cut of meat that either would buy in the store and it was not a cut that we received when we purchased a side of beef. Therefore, I know my beef stew is not my momma’s beef stew (or my grandmother’s either for that matter). It does reflect my rather recent obsession with the shank cuts of meat.
It also reflects my heritage and pays homage to my mom and grandmother by sometimes using canned tomatoes and sometimes not.
I used the oven to cook my stew, but it can be done in a slow cooker after searing the meat. You could even cook the meat the day before making the stew. Another method that would speed up the process would be to cook the meat in a pressure cooker before transferring it to the oven or slow cooker. You could even make the entire stew in the pressure cooker by cooking the meat under pressure then adding the vegetables and cooking either without pressure or possibly even placing it back under pressure.
Although there are lots of steps in the following recipe, it really is not difficult. I have just broke it down to try include everything I do.