Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Fall Comfort Food - Beef Stew

Fall is definitely in the air.  Today the temperature was up to 76 and within two hours it was down to 59 as a cold front moved through following a quick thunderstorm.  Now, there is a steady rain falling and I had to turn the lights on in the living room at 5:30.  It makes me realize that it won't be long until winter will be here and I am not quite ready to even think about cold weather yet.  The fall days here in middle Tennessee have been remarkable - sunny days with cool evenings.  The trees are just beginning to show a little color.  If it were up to me, this would be the ideal weather for most of the year.  The kind of weather where you are warm during the day, but may need a light jacket or sweater in the evening.  Perhaps a fire in the fire pit while sitting on the deck or patio enjoying an evening desert and cup of coffee.  Yes, that is the ideal for me.  The older I get, the less I like cold weather!

These cooler evenings are the perfect time for one of our "comfort food" favorites.  This evening I made beef stew.  It's easy, economical and can be made in one pot.  I use my cheery red dutch oven.  Just setting it on the stove makes me smile.  I know, you probably don't smile at your pots and pans, but this bright, shiny red dutch oven does make me smile, especially since I know that it will make the meat super tender and the flavors meld together in an amazing way.

I have been buying my beef at the Nashville Farmer's Market.  It is grass fed, antibiotic and hormone free and is super lean and delicious.  It is so tender when cooked and there is virtually no fat to drain.  One pound of super lean beef stew meat cost me $4.76.  Not much different than the grocery store and so much better.   This gives you a delicious protein for less than $5.00.   Check your farmer's market or phonebook for farmers in you area who produce grass fed meat.  It is so much better for you and the price here is comparable to the grocery store.


3 tablespoons butter
Approximately one pound  of beef stew meat
 white starchy potatoes peeled and cut into chunks - approximately 8 cups
carrots peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces - approximately 2.5 cups
1 large onion, cut in half and then into about 7 or 8 wedges
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 32 ounce box beef broth (I use low sodium, no msg)
about 4 cups water
3/4 cup frozen green peas
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
1 Tbsp fresh thyme (substitute 1/2 amount rosemary and thyme if using dried)
salt and black pepper to taste  (I add very little salt, lots of fresh cracked black pepper)

Melt the butter in the dutch oven.  Cut the stew meat into bite sized pieces.  Add it to the melted butter and cook until lightly browned.  Add onions and continue to brown meat, cooking until onions are translucent.  Add garlic, potatoes, and carrots.  Add 1 box (32 oz) beef broth and enough water to cover all the ingredients in the pot.  (It took about 4 cups)  You can use two boxes of beef broth if you want, I prefer it this way.  Bring liquid to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until all the vegetables are fork tender.  Add salt, black pepper and frozen peas.  Cook until peas are done.  Serve.

This can be served this with a green salad and warm bread if you like.  There is nothing better on a cool fall evening.  It is easier and much less expensive than a pot roast, but has the same delicious flavors and I love one dish meals.  It also really stretches a buck!  If you are a camper and spend time out of doors in the fall, this is a great recipe to use.  Easy.  Inexpensive.  Delicious.  You could even put some drop biscuits on the top and let them cook until done.  Yummmmmm!

  Our children always loved beef stew night and it's a recipe that I have made over and over through the years.  You have your protein and vegetables all in one bowl.  Yes!  That's the way to make a quick and easy dinner.  It can even be made the night before and reheated.   I get to use my shiny red dutch oven and that is good.  We also have left overs for tomorrow.   How much better could that be?

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

Don't dwell on who let you down, cherish those who lift you up!

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