Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Winter Beef Stew

Last night, we decorated our tree, and now the house is officially Christmas-fied. All I need to do is find some stockings that are actually pretty, not horrific looking. Oh, and that won't cost an arm plus a leg. Everything that is cheap in the stores is so tacky looking...Any ideas?

                                             Lupe in the truck, heading out to get the tree.

Before we commenced the decorating of the tree, we enjoyed a cozy dinner of Winter Beef Stew. Now, all beef stews are relatively winter-y. But I think this one is particularly so because of the presence of the winter root vegetables that I put in there. At least, to me it is. Granted, yesterday was legitimately a balmy day for December 3rd, but since I am chilled if the thermometer is anywhere below 80 degrees, stew was necessary. 

Also, I would like to point out that, while love means many things, it also means learning to use mushrooms in cooking because your husband loves them even though you, yourself, loathe them. 

This stew was a delicious medley of butternut squash, turnips, potato's, carrots, onions, and tender chunks of beef. With a little bit of mini alphabet pasta thrown in for good measure. Oh, and mushrooms. I picked mine out.
2 stalks celery
4 cloves garlic
1/2 of a large onion
2 carrots
1 large turnip
1 small russet potato
about 3/4 cup chopped butternut squash
3 mushrooms of whatever sort you somehow enjoy
1/4 lb stew beef
48 oz plus a little more canned or homemade beef broth
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp herbs provence
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp cornstarch
2 tbs water
About 1/4 cup (dry) tiny pasta

Finely chop the onion, garlic, and celery and cook them in a little olive oil in a nonstick pan. Slice the mushrooms large so you can easily remove them from your stew. Add some salt and pepper to bring out the flavor.
Peel (if necessary) and chop up the rest of the vegetables into hearty chunks-- except for the potato which I chopped small since I only used one.
Throw these into a pot or a crockpot and add in the seasonings and Worcestershire sauce on top. 
Once the veggies in the pan are softened, pour them over the root vegetables, and slice the stew beef into small-ish chunks. Again, I sliced mine pretty small since I didn't use much.

Pour the broth over top, add a little more salt and pepper, and cook it until everything is soft. In the crockpot I cooked it on high for six hours. A half hour before serving, whisk the cornstarch and water together and add it to the soup to slightly thicken the broth. Cook the pasta until just soft in a pot of boiling water, and add it to the soup right before dishing it up.
We ate ours with a slice of rustic seeded bread. And it was a perfect pre-tree decorating meal.
On top of it all, its a cheap dinner that will last for a solid three or so meals (if there's only two of you) and it's super healthy. 

Enjoy this warm, Indian Summer weather we're having. Fingers crossed that it lasts. Also, is anyone else so upset that The Walking Dead is on hiatus until February?

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