Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Hearty Beef Stew
A couple of years ago, I made a purchase of a crock pot. It was probably one of the best purchases I had ever made!
To say I love my crock pot is an understatement! I ADORE my crock pot! I love to prepare a meal by throwing everything into the crock pot (often the night before), popping the pot into the fridge, and in the morning, putting it on the warmer element, turning it on, and leaving it to cook - no fuss, no muss.
In the Fall and winter time, it has long been a tradition in many homes to eat stew. Since I have moved to Arizona, we don't generally experience a Fall as we did when I lived in Canada, nor a winter where snow falls. While winters here are delectable for many, over the past few years, I have started to miss the change of scenery in the flora, the cold, warm woolie sweaters, boots, and all that comes with the winter season.
One thing I miss most is cosying up on a cold Fall or Winter's afternoon with a hot cup of hearty stew.
Before I got my crock pot, I would make it on the stove, which added even more heat to the house.
So now, when I am in the mood for stew like this, I crank the air conditioner way up and get the house nice and cool. Then I'll change my desktop to a Fall (or Winter) scene, pop on my woolies, and eagerly wait for the stew to cook. By mid-afternoon, the smell of "home" and "warmth" and "comfort" fill the house, and I'll grab a small bowl and wrap an Afghan around me, and "test the brew".
Here is one of my most favourite ways to make beef stew, and is sure to invoke memories of home, comfort, and those beautiful Fall days right after a light rain, when the air smells just a little bit fresher, and the overcast day just seems to brighten up those red and yellow leaves. It'll invoke memories of walking through crunchy leaves that have fallen, and anticipation of the coming snow, and the upcoming holiday season.
Hearty Beef Stew
1 lb stewing beef
4-5 celery stalks chopped
5 carrots chopped
4-6 potatoes cut in 1/4s (length way) then chopped three times to make big chunks
1/2 small cabbage sliced in larger width (approx 1/2") - cut out hard part
1 large onion, large diced
8 cloves garlic, large dice
1 pkt brown gravy mix
3 cups cold water
Salt/Pepper - to taste
1. Turn on the crock pot, add the onions, garlic, beef
2. Mix the brown gravy with 1 cup water - whisk until powder dissolved, add 1 cup water and mix nicely. Add to crock pot, add 1 cup water mix well.
3. Add rest of the veggies, stir well to ensure everything has been covered by the gravy mix.
4. Set to high, and cook 5 hrs. Stirring occasionally.
Serve with fresh bread and butter. VERY tasty.
NB: You can also add to this, zucchini (although will probably near dissolve), turnip, pumpkin (FRESH - NOT can and NOT puree), tomatoes, green beans, peas, corn. If you want to add dry beans, best to soak over night and cook with a bay leaf/ginger (to cut the gas effect) until par cooked, drained and then add to the stew - otherwise will take too long to cook.