I don't think this is really anything new, but I did manage to make a good pot of stew and so I'm sharing. This is my mother's recipe, but I don't know where she got it. It's easy enough to get the ingredients here in Japan, and if you have a couple of hours to spare for making dinner, why not make a pot of stew?
I am calling this beef stew, but I have also made this with pork. Many of our local grocery stores have had big hunks of pork meat (you can also buy some already chopped, mainly intended for curry or Japanese 'stew' (cream stew)), not pork belly, almost like a roast. Very lovely in stew.
I first made my mother's stew several years ago because I once had stew in a restaurant and it had tomatoes in it. Not what I was expecting, and I didn't really like it. I like tomatoes well enough, but I think I was homesick and wanted something with a meatier broth.
400-500 g beef or pork (momo or roast cut, meant for stew or curry)
1 small onion
1/4 cup flour
salt & pepper
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
3 or four bullion cubes, beef preferred but any flavor should work
4 cups of water
1 bay leaf
2 or 3 small potatoes ("may queen" is good for prolonged cooking)
Cut meat into bite-sized pieces, perhaps one inch cubes. Cut onions into slices. Put flour into a plastic bag (ziploc bags work well for this) and add salt and pepper (perhaps 1/4 teaspoon salt and a dash of pepper). Put the meat in the bag, close the bag and shake until the meat is covered in flour (if you have a large amount of meat, do this in stages). Heat the oil in a medium-sized pot on high, shake the flour from the meat and place it in the pot. Add onions and cook over high heat until the meat is brown, stirring constantly. Don't worry if the flour sticks to the bottom of the pot, but be careful not to let it burn. When the meat has changed color, add the water and bullion cubes. Carefully scrape off anything stuck to the bottom (the water makes this easy to do). Bring to a boil. Add the bay leaf, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for at least an hour.
Peel and cut carrot and potatoes into bite-sized pieces, and try to make them all the same size. You can take out the bay leaf now, or after the vegetables are cooked, but don't forget to remove it! Remove lid, increase the heat to high, and add the vegetables. When it comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover again. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the veggies are soft. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with warm bread.
For slow cookers:
If you don't have time to wait for a pot of stew to simmer, you can make this in a crock pot in the morning (or even overnight for the next day. Stew is great leftovers!) Still prepare the meat as above, but remove to the crock pot after the meat changes color. Add one cup of water to the pot where you fried your beef and onions and with the heat still on, scrape off the good stuff from the bottom of the pot. Add and dissolve the bullion cubes. Then transfer this broth into the crock pot, just pour it over the meat. Add the chopped veggies (usually vegetables are put under the meat, but the small cut up pieces are going to float around, so don't bother), one more cup of water and the bay leaf. You shouldn't need more water because it's not going to evaporate like a traditional pot of stew, but do taste it before you serve. Cook on low for eight hours, or on high for four. Enjoy!