Dinner Diaries

Sara’s Beef Stew

Sara’s Beef Stew

By Tim H. Martin

Recipe courtesy of J. Wayne Fears and his book “The Lodge Book of Dutch Oven Cooking.”

Makes 6-8 portions


1 package Adolph’s Beef Stew Mix
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 pounds beef round, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup all purpose flour
1 package McCormick’s Beef Stew Seasoning
1 package McCormick’s Brown Gravy Mix
6 large Irish potatoes, cubed
1 cup carrots, peeled and sliced


1. Put 3 quarts of water in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
2. Stir Adolph’s Beef Stew Mix into 2 cups warm water, them pour into Dutch oven.
3. While that cooks, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Coat the cubed meat with flour then brown on all sides.
4. Add the meat to the Dutch oven and stir. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 2 hours, stirring and skimming every 20-30 minutes to prevent meat from sticking to the bottom.
5. Stir the McCormick’s Beef Stew Seasoning Mix into 2 cups of warm water. Add to the Dutch oven mixture and stir well.
6. Combine the gravy mix and 2 cups of warm water. Add to the Dutch oven and stir.
7. While the stew continues to cook on low heat, peel and cut the potatoes and carrots. Bring water to a boil in two pots, then add the vegetables. Let them cook until they can be easily pierced with a fork. Remove and drain. (Cooking the vegetables separately has proven to keep them more tender.)
8. Add the vegetables to the Dutch oven and stir.

Notes About Sara’s Beef Stew
— J. Wayne Fears

This beef stew is one of the best I have ever eaten. It is the creation of Sara Graves, wife of chuck wagon/Dutch oven master Chef Roger Graves. It differs from most stew recipes where the ingredients are simply dumped into a pot of water and cooked. This one has a few extra steps that result in one of the best stews ever.

The Lodge Book of Dutch Oven Cooking— Editor’s Note and Book Review by Tim H. Martin

Sara’s Beef Stew is a savory recipe from the new Lodge cookbook I’m pleased to share with Deer Camp Dinner Diaries fans. I chose it because it adapts easily to a stovetop, and beef (or venison) stew is universally popular among hunters. Also, the woman who developed the recipe wasn’t happy until she got it just right. Those dishes are usually keepers, and this one certainly is.

“The Lodge Book of Dutch Oven Cooking”

If you are an American who owns cast iron cookware, there’s a good chance it was made by Lodge Manufacturing, right here in the U.S.A.

Lodge’s latest cookbook by J. Wayne Fears focuses on outdoor Dutch oven cooking. The author succeeds in simplifying this notoriously tricky method of cooking with easy-to-read instructions, user-friendly charts, expert tips, mouthwatering recipes and high-quality photographs.

The book features a wide array of recipes for ‘the magic pot.’ On the traditional side, you’ll find several chuck wagon-style side essentials, such as Brunswick Stew, Sourdough Biscuits, Mountain Man Breakfast, Tater Knob Hoecake, Zesty Chili, Santa Fe Soup, Bubbly Peach Cobbler and Tender Roast.

I was attracted to several of the not-so-traditional dishes, such as Reuben Casserole, Longhunter Meatloaf, Aneeda’s Mac & Cheese, German Pork & White Vegetables, French Baked Salmon, and a particularly dazzling chuck wagon bread pudding recipe that Fears got from an outfitter in Canada.

The author — a journeyman outdoor writer — picked up several of his recipes in hunting camps, which make them even more valuable and authentic.

Fears provides interesting sections on how a Lodge Dutch oven is made, the history of the Dutch oven, detailed user tips, how to use charcoal briquettes, campfire cooking, cast iron maintenance, accessories, and a fascinating chapter on bean hole cooking.

If you use cast iron cookware to cook outdoors, I would classify this book as a must-have. But the book is also worthy of purchase for its many recipes that are adaptable to the conventional oven.

To Order:

Copyright 2023 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd