It’s just days before New Years and my body has already begun to revolt.
“More vegetables!” it’s screaming in my ear. “More fruit—and I don’t mean leftover fruitcake.”
In response, I cast about for a recipe that would feed both body and soul. I came upon my scrumptious Beef Stew, which I’ve not cooked since the 2020 COVID lockdown.
I usually make this dish in a Crockpot, simmering it overnight on low for about 8-10 hours. This time I started it at noon, which meant a very late dinner or stew for breakfast. I settled for eating it for dinner the next day, telling myself the dish is always better after spending a while in the fridge.
Sou Chef Needed
I must admit stews are a bit labor intensive. You can benefit from a sou chef to cut up all those carrots, potatoes, celery, turnips, onions, and garlic.
If you buy a whole chuck roast you have to trim and cut that as well. Though this time I took a short cut and got the pre-chopped meat. If you have some cuts of venison languishing in your freezer, they also work well in this slow-cooked stew.
But what ever you do, be sure to put several slices of bacon in the pot to brown the meat before combining all the ingredients. It will make a big difference in the flavor.
Canned Stew or Crockpot Stew?
During my college days, I used to eat Dinty Moore’s Beef Stew, that involved only a can opener and a few minutes of warming.
But I gave up Dinty’s after a friend suggested it tasted like dog food. I didn’t find it all that bad, though I’ve never tasted dog food. I think it was the shape of the can, that made her feel that way. She said the smell alone might cause you to think twice about serving it.
In a Stew When the Lights Go Off
Adding to my kitchen plight, the light above my counter went out. I didn’t want to use a ladder for fear I’d fall and break the ladder. So I soldiered on in the gloom.
Having gotten the meat brown and in the pot with the veggies and seasonings, I was overcome with a sense of great accomplishment. You know, that feeling. The one you get when your Jello mold comes out intact.
When I searched for the frozen peas (which I add toward the end for a bit more color), there were none to be found. But luckily my friend Anne-Sophie was coming by with some Christmas tree-shaped butter for the family holiday meal. She agree to pick up a bag of frozen pea.
I had a hearty and colorful pot of stew. As the old saying goes, “Cook once, eat twice.” From the amount of stew I made, I feared I’d be eating it through New Years.
I was saved from having to find space for a Crockpot full of stew by my grandson, Andrew, who happily took home a baggie full for his dinner.
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