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Nebraska Stew

When Kathy Godtfredsen moved from the Midwest to Seattle, she took her mom's recipe with her. Before Kathy made the stew in the slow cooker, she combined the ingredients and baked them in a casserole in a 275-degree oven for five hours. In those days, she called it Five-hour Stew. The secret ingredient is barley, which thickens the juices as the stew cooks. Cubed cooked potatoes can be stirred in during the last hour.

1 1/2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
2 (14-ounce) cans tomatoes
1 (14-ounce) can water
1/2 cup barley
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 cooked potatoes, cut into chunks, optional

Brown the meat in the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Set aside. Add the carrots, onion and celery to the pan and cook until somewhat browned.

Add the vegetables to the slow cooker. Place the meat on top of the vegetables. Add the tomatoes, water and barley. Stir in the sugar, salt and pepper.

Cover and cook on low (200 degrees) about 7 hours. Add cooked potatoes, if using, to the stew during the last 30 minutes of cooking.

Thursday, January 13, 2000

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