If stew meat is not available, cube a chuck roast or steak. Cheaper and leaner cuts of meat are fine for stew, as the slow cooking method releases flavor and tenderizes the meat. Melt the butter or oil in the Dutch oven and brown the beef. Stir every few minutes until brown on all sides. Add the chopped onion, and lightly brown it. Stir in the brown gravy mix, stirring into all meat is coated and lightly brown. Add water or beef broth to cover by about two inches. Place the pot on low heat to simmer for 20 minutes.
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