Spring is gearing up to jump out at us, and we are more than ready, however the reality is that the temps are still a bit cool, especially morning and evening, to enjoy the warmth anywhere but our imaginations. So keeping with the winter months, today’s post is a delicious Winter Warmer.
What I love about Winter Warmers or stews and chowders, is that the recipes can be easily modified to fit your flavor. You have a base, then add what YOU like in to the recipe. Sometimes, your pantry, garden or local market place can inspire you to whip up new and fantastic dishes. As you read through the recipe, keep in mind this is a basic, generic, beef stew. I generally fill my pot to the brim with as many vegetables as possible. Canned or frozen green beans and corn are a delightful addition, although when available, I purchase fresh from the market, cut the corn from the cob, lightly steam both corn and beans in separate pots.
I have an asparagus lover in the fam and add that to the stew last, perhaps 15 minutes before serving. I steam them first, slice, then add to the pot. I have a friend who slices the veggie in to two-inch pieces and adds hers to the beef while it’s browning with a slice or two of bacon ( delicious ) and adds to the pot an hour before serving.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 pound button mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 cups veal or beef stock, at room temperature
- 1 small white onion
2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 pound small red or new potatoes, quartered
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
Set a 12-inch saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the pan and season the beef with 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper. Sear the beef (in 2 batches) in the saute pan for about 2 or 3 minutes per side.
Add the butter, mushrooms, flour, veal or beef stock, tomato paste, herbs, spices, and browned meat to a slow cooker. Cover the slow cooker and set the temperature to high. Cook for 1 hour. Add potatoes and carrots and continue to cook the stew for another 7 hours. Once the stew is cooked, stir in the beans, peas, corn or other vegetables you have chosen and parsley and serve immediately.
Asparagus cleaning and cooking, tips and tricks click here
Since spring is in the air, and just a few weeks away, our taste buds are looking for fresh delights. Fruits of every kind make a wonderful and light dessert, but every once in a while, only cake will do. To keep with a fresh and light theme, lemon and coconut are on the ingredients list. I turned to my dear friend Alice D’Antoni Phillips of Alley’s Kitchen for the ultimate fresh, light and heavenly Lemon Coconut Cake, to finish this meal. The ingredients list is basic and the flavor is out of this world. Cake; butter, sugar, coconut oil, eggs, milk, vanilla pudding, vanilla extract, almond extract, flour, baking powder, sea salt, shredded coconut. Icing; sour cream, coconut yogurt, cream cheese, powdered sugar and coconut. The full recipe is here ~ take some time and poke around her delicious site.