The One Ingredient Your Hamburger Stew Is Missing

At this stage of the pandemic, you likely look at those staple items around your kitchen (carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic, maybe some ground beef) with a boredom that borders on disdain. You may be wondering what there could possibly be to cook that you haven't cooked yet, and you're so tired of being in your kitchen that you're thinking about turning it into a spare bedroom and ordering takeout for the rest of your days. No? Just us? Well, anyway.

When you're tired of everything and the weather is miserable, a good stew is almost always the answer. Hearty, nourishing, and made from the simple ingredients you probably already have in spades, hamburger stew is as American as apple pie; a dish that conjures up images of wizened old cowboys, sitting around a campsite and poking at the pot that bubbles merrily over the fire. Plus, if you use a slow cooker, you can "set it and forget it," allowing you to pretend your kitchen doesn't exist for a few hours. Not a bad strategy.

You can't go wrong with caramelized onions in your stew

Now that you know a good hamburger stew (like this one from Southern Living) will take you out of the winter of your discontent, what can you do to take your dish to the next level and add some excitement to your life? Kitchn has a great list of ten things you can do with chilis and stews to zhuzh them up a bit, and number three seems perfectly suited to a hamburger stew.

Caramelized onions are made by cooking sliced onions over a low heat for a long time, like 30 to 40 minutes (via BBC Good Food). Any hamburger aficionado knows that a nest of these sweet, sticky onions take a burger from "okay" to "bangarang," so why wouldn't you want them in your hamburger stew? If you're using the slow cooker method, throw them in at the end so that they don't lose their rich flavor. Now you've got yourself a dish that will shake your winter slump and make those cowboys proud.