Whenever the sun is on strike, as it so often seems to be in this part of the country, the best way to warm up is to take a hot yoga class or make a big pot of stew. Since we were both still recovering from our latest yoga adventure, we chose the easier and tastier option. Plus it seemed like the perfect companion for that night’s “Game of Thrones” (Little did we know they were skipping a week for Memorial Day).
Homemade stew is a great way to use up forgotten root vegetables while getting that hearty full feeling at the same time. It was just the two of us so we splurged on some nice cuts of rib eye. Since the meat would be cooking longer than usual, we chose ones with a nice ratio of white marbling and tender meat. When using a tougher cut like a roast, it’s best to sear the beef and add it straight to the pot to stew with the veggies. Since we were using rib eye, we seared the cubes in a hot cast iron skillet and added the pieces back to the pot about fifteen minutes before serving.
1 1/2 lbs Rib eye or other stew meat, cut into chunks
1/2 small butternut squash, 1″ cubes
4-5 fingerling potatoes, 1″ chunks
1 parsnip, 1″ cubes
1 yellow onion, diced
1-2 carrots, roughly diced
1-2 stalks celery, diced
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 bottle of good red wine
1 carton of beef broth
3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. flour
2-3 bay leaves
1/2 cup peas
After you’ve seared the meat, cook the onions, carrot, and celery in the pan until tender. Add in the garlic, cook for a couple of minutes more then add the butter and flour and stir consistently for a couple of minutes until the flour completely combines with the butter and is evenly coating the veggies. Then add all of the wine and deglaze the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula. We opted for a Chianti but any good bottle of red wine will do. Transfer the ingredients to an oven-safe pot and add in the tomatoes with their juice, the beef broth, and herbs. For the thyme and rosemary, tie together a few sprigs with some kitchen twine and drop in whole. Add the root vegetables and simmer until tender in a 375º oven, at least an hour, more is better. In the last 15 minutes of cooking, return the meat to the pot and cook until done. Remove the pot rom the oven and add in the peas and parsley.
An apple crumble is a great second act to the stew. It’s easy to throw together and it can be cooked in the oven alongside the stew. For ours we tossed some diced apple with lemon juice, sugar, fresh vanilla bean and cinnamon. Then we topped it with a mixture of butter, flour and sugar. Bake until bubbly.