For those of you who aren't familiar with fly fishing a Wooly Bugger is a very famous and effective fly pattern for catching fish. I decided to call this Wooly Bugger stew because it is the kind of meal you can toss together in your dutch oven then wander off to go fishing while your oven does all the work. Except for adding or changing coals after the first hour of cooking and giving it a quick stir that's all there is to it. Simmer it slowly at 325 degrees for 2 hours and you will be rewarded at the end of the day with a rich and delicious stew. The secret ingredient is the Italian dressing, the spices give it a zing and the vinegar helps to tenderize the beef. I did take the time to flour and saute the beef beforehand but if you are in the wild or camping you can just as easily eliminate this step, add the spices and veggies and throw it on the coals. I like to use small potatoes in their skins, they hold up better to braising and it saves on the prep work. The onions and celery cook down, thickening and adding texture to the sauce. In my 12 inch oven I kept this at a simmer with 12 coals in a circle around the base of the oven and 18-20 on the lid. I can hardly wait to make this on a cool fall day for my fishing buddies. Give this melt in your mouth stew a try and be sure to serve it with bread or biscuits, you won't want to miss a drop of the silky, rich gravy.
Wooly Bugger Stew
3 lbs. chuck roast, cut into stew sized pieces
1 cup flour for dredging meat
2-3 Tblsp olive or canola oil
3-4 stalks of celery, cut into chunks
1 medium onion cut into chunks
4-5 carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces
6-8 whole, small creamer or red potatoes
1 14.5 oz. can beef broth
3/4 cup bottled Italian salad dressing
1 package of brown gravy mix
1/4 cup ketchup
1 Tblsp Worcestershire OR A-1 sauce
1-2 bay leaves
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Lightly oil or spray a 12 inch dutch oven.
Heat oil over a full spread of coals in dutch oven.
Place flour in zip lock bag, add beef cubes and shake until the meat is completely covered. Shake off excess flour and brown beef in batches in hot oil. Do not crowd beef.
Add all of beef back to oven; add celery, carrots, onion, potatoes and bay leaves.
Mix beef broth, Italian dressing, gravy mix, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and pepper in medium bowl. Stir well. If you don't feel like dirtying a separate bowl, add rest of ingredients right into your dutch oven and stir gently until well combined.
Cook stew at 350 degrees for 2 hours or until vegetables are soft and beef is tender. Serves 4-5.
|Beef browned, stew ready for coals