Soul Satisfying Beef Stew – My Tribute to Orpha

When my daughter, Dana was under a year old, my great friend Cindy and I embarked on an adventure.

We packed up her 2 darling children (ages 3 and 1) and Dana (who was just under 12 months) to visit her mother in Cape Cod, because both of our husbands were away on business.

We thought that we were so savvy because we bought cheap seats on a new discount airline for about $29.00. The flight had MANY delays (we could have gotten there about 4 hours earlier for $10. more when the major carriers matched the fare). We finally arrived at her mother’s cottage absolutely exhausted after entertaining our babies for hours.

Her dear mother, Orpha had been cooking all day and was waiting with the most wonderful meal…hearty stew, crisp salad, fresh bread and wine. The babies slept, we ate, and it was one of the best (most needed) Sunday suppers I can ever remember.

This is my adaptation of her delicious stew.


Soul Satisfying Beef Stew

Yield: 4-6 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Total Time: 3 hours, 20 minutes


1 lb. meat for stew (I used London Broil) cut into 1 inch cubes
1 - Cup flour
3 - Tablespoons olive oil
1 - Large green pepper cut into cubes
1 - Large onion cut in slices
2 - Cloves of garlic minced
1 - 15 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
2 - Cups water
4 - Large carrots peeled and cut on the diagonal
1/3 lb. - Green beans rinsed and cut on the diagonal
10 - Small new potatoes (you may peel them or leave whole)
1 - Beef boullion cube (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Either purchase pre-cut stew meat or prepare your own by cutting the beef into 1 inch cubes.

I dredge the cubes in flour, salt and pepper till they are well coated.

In a large, heavy skillet over medium heat add olive oil and brown the meat on all sides (be very careful not to overcrowd the pan, or the meat will not brown properly). After meat is browned place in small roasting pan.

Using the same skillet immediately add the onions and green pepper and let them brown a bit, then add the garlic being careful not to burn it. When finished, add to the roasting pan.

Next, add the water and simmer letting the flavorful bits loosen from the bottom then add the crushed tomatoes and stir. At this point you can add the boullion cube if you prefer.

Cover and slowly roast the stew in the oven for 3 hours.

When the meat is done prepare the vegetables by either steaming, or boiling them in separate pots till fork tender.

Add the vegetables to the meat, stir and serve with a crisp salad and crusty bread.



2 Responses to “Soul Satisfying Beef Stew – My Tribute to Orpha”

  1. 1

    Marisa — Tuesday, April 12, 2011 @ 1:09 pm

    Sue – it's Marisa Vrooman here – I just found this post and I broke down into tears! I know exactly how you and Cindy and the kids must have felt when you arrived at Mimi's (Orpha's) home – I remember the aromas in her kitchen, her warm smile, and strong hug. Thank you so much for this. I can't wait to make your version of her recipe. Beef stew has become a staple – and I would love to be making Mimi's version! Sending you much love from Virginia!

  2. 2

    Rachel — Tuesday, April 12, 2011 @ 2:24 pm

    What a wonderful discovery! Seeing your face on this page brought back a flood of wonderful memories. And then finding this post about our beloved Mimi and reading such a beautiful tribute to her just made my day. You can bet that I will be making this stew….and a few other recipes from your blog! I too am sending much love from Virginia! Rachel (Vrooman) Abdella

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