It would only confuse you to admit I started with a little sweet Italian sausage; but it was only by seconds. A bitta that gets joined by a pound of stew beef, cut small; brown, add fresh mushrooms as it happens, cover with beef stock once it looks right to you. Now cover the pot and go do something like chopping half an onion (saute and add), a few stalks of celery (likewise), a couple-three fresh carrots (do you see a saute-pan pattern developing? You do) and a couple of potatoes (Stop! Nobody sautes potatoes for stew, you barbarian! Don't peel them, either, that's the best part). Cut up the potatoes in large spoon-sized chunks and chuck 'em into the hot and bubblin'. Let it cook for ten or twenty minutes, simmering, adding liquid as needed. Toss in a can of whatever kind of beans look good, draining most but not all of the liquid. Dice up an Anaheim or other appealing pepper, saute (ha! Fooled ya!) briefly and add it to the pot; slice six or seven (or more) cherry or grape tomatoes and throw them in, too. Give it another ten minutes or longer after adding the tomatoes. (I also sliced up a tiny little crabapple, sauted it and pitched it in with the carrots, skin-on. It turned out well; I should've done two or three.)
Season to taste. I salt and peppered the beef as it went in, plus some sesame-garlic stuff, and added "pot herbs" (too much thyme, but it worked. YMMV) with the broth.
Serves several, or a few for several days.
You can push this stuff in a tomato-y direction with crushed or diced, you can make it spicy (maybe some of those canned green chilies?), you can thicken the broth with flour (simplest if you shake up the beef with flour in a bag before browning, for a roux-without-rue), cornstarch or arrowroot (those two, mix with cold, cold water, then stir slowly into a simmering-not-boiling pot of broth and goodies. It doesn't take much and they're fairly flavor-neutral), substitute rice for the potatoes (ending up with a sort of farmer's pilaf) or whatever else might appeal. Various other kinds of meat could be used, alone or together. It's really more of an attitude than a recipe and will accomodate leftovers. (A really quick version might be turned out with leftover meatloaf, for example.)
An overnight stay in the fridge or freezer often makes the whole thing better. Simmering the meat longer would be better, too, if you have that kind of time. You'd want to leave it in larger pieces, I think.
Tam went back for a second bowl, which is usually a good sign.
Update: I had to rename it, based on the very first comment. Man, we can't have nothin' nice!
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
8 months ago