2-1/2 pounds beef for stew, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 package (12 to 14 ounces) dried bean soup mix with seasoning packet (not quick cooking)
2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) diced tomatoes with green peppers and onion
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 can (14 to 14-1/2 ounces) beef broth
3 cups frozen diced or hash-brown potatoes (optional)
Salt and pepper
Soak beans in water overnight in refrigerator according to package directions. Reserve seasoning packet.
Coat beef with seasoning from reserved packet. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large stockpot over medium heat until hot. Brown 1/3 of beef; remove from stockpot. Repeat twice with remaining oil and beef, adding
additional oil as needed.
Pour off drippings; return beef to stockpot. Drain beans; discard water. Add beans, tomatoes and beef broth to stockpot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover tightly and simmer 1-3/4 to 2-1/4 hours, or until beef is fork tender.
Stir in potatoes, if desired; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; continue simmering, uncovered, 5 to 7 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper, as desired.