Winning Recipes From the World’s Greatest Down-Home Beef Stew Cook-Off
In our spring 2007 issue, columnist and Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation Director of Communications, Pettus Read, lamented about another popular down-home dish – beef stew – and its tendency in many eateries to lack much of the most important ingredient – beef. Now we’re well aware there are some great Southern cooks among our readers, so in our summer 2007 issue, we announced the sequel to our dumplings competition: The World’s Greatest Down-Home Beef Stew Cook-Off.
Once again, the recipes poured in, and we painstakingly narrowed them down to five finalists. Armed with cast iron pots, hearty vegetables and plenty of beef, the five finalists battled it out in October at the Music and Molasses Festival in Nashville. Plenty of spectators looked on, including George Lindsey, better known as “Goober” from The Andy Griffith Show. In the end, Opal Bohannon of Cookeville was named our grand prize winner and awarded a trophy – a Lodge cast iron Dutch oven.
Here, we present our winning recipe, as well as the four runners-up.
Betty Griffin, Ashland City
Betty Griffin created her beef stew recipe specifically for this contest, using all the ingredients her daughter loves. So it’s no wonder she named the recipe Daughter’s Delight Beef Stew.
“My daughter doesn’t like celery or many vegetables,” explains Griffin. “I told her about this contest, and she told me what she’d like in a beef stew. I made it so she’d like it, and I found I liked it too.”
The culinary concoction also impressed Griffin’s husband.
“He’s not a big beef stew eater, but he thinks it’s the best there is,” she says.
Griffin learned to cook as a child growing up in Arkansas.
“I had five people in my family, and my mom was sick a lot, so I cooked most of the meals,” she says.
Griffin thinks what makes her beef stew recipe so good is the Ro-tel tomatoes and the combination of seasonings.
“I’ve always made soups using Ro-tel tomatoes,” she reveals. “The stew has cinnamon and nutmeg in it, which makes it taste good. It has a kick to it.”
Her recipe also calls for more beef than most.
“The secret is lots of beef and tomato,” she says. “And I cut up the beef pieces really small.”