Make a bowlful of comfort for a chilly day

#Middlebury #KitchenDiva

Many kids dislike soft vegetables, the kind usually found in stew. If you’re having trouble getting your children to eat stew, try this saucy beef recipe – adapted from the wonderful cookbook “Real Food for Healthy Kids: 200-Plus Easy, Wholesome Recipes” by Tracey Seaman and Tanya Wenman Steel. Tracey’s teenage daughter said, “This is the only stew I really like, because it doesn’t have any mushy vegetables. I like my carrots crisp.”

Photo courtesy Bob and Tanya Steel

This rendition is made without carrots or potatoes so you can serve it – with its thick, rich gravy – over a mash of potatoes and parsnips, or a mound of fluffy rice. Add a side dish of crisp vegetables, or a salad, and serve it with some hot, crusty French bread, and you’ve got a meal that will please the pickiest eater.

If you’re fortunate enough to have leftovers, you can stretch out the servings and transform your stew into French Dip sandwiches. Shred any remaining cubes of stew beef and re-heat the meat and any leftover sauce in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes until warm. Pour the sauce into a separate serving dish.

Sprinkle some shredded Parmesan cheese on a whole-wheat hamburger bun or hot-dog bun, or a sliced hoagie roll. Place the bread on a cookie sheet under a broiler or in a toaster oven until the cheese starts to melt. Pile the shredded beef on the bread and add a few dill pickles or slices of purple onion, if desired. You can serve the remaining sauce on the side for dipping, au jus style.

This recipe is perfect for a crockpot or for slow-cooking in a roasting pan in the oven. It also freezes well and can last for up to six months. This saucy beef stew is a bowlful of comfort on a cold day, or it makes a hearty sandwich for supper on a warm one.

Saucy Beef Stew

If you’re planning to prepare this stew in a slow cooker, follow steps one and two and then place the meat and the sauce in a crockpot, add the fresh or dried rosemary and thyme, cover and cook on low for 7 hours or until tender. Remove the sprigs of fresh herbs (if used), and season to taste before serving.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
5 pounds lean beef chuck, cut into 1- to 2-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 extra-large onions, finely diced
5 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 quart low-sodium beef broth
2 cups filtered water
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 sprigs each fresh rosemary and thyme (or 1 teaspoon each dried)

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 6-to 8-quart heavy Dutch oven over medium heat. Add a third of the beef, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook, turning infrequently, until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat with oil and the remaining beef and more salt in two batches.
  2. Add the last tablespoon of oil, and the onions and garlic to the pot; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle the flour on top and cook, stirring constantly until thick and lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the broth, water, vinegar and tomato paste. Bring mixture to a boil.
  3. Return meat to the pan, add rosemary and thyme, and return to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 1-1/2 hours.
  4. Uncover pot and continue simmering for up to 30 minutes more, until the meat is nicely tender but still holds its shape. Remove the sprigs and season to taste before serving. Makes about 3 quarts.

Angela Shelf Medearis is an award-winning children’s author, culinary historian and the author of seven cookbooks. Her new cookbook is “The Kitchen Diva’s Diabetic Cookbook.” Her website is To see how-to videos, recipes and much, much more, Like Angela Shelf Medearis, The Kitchen Diva! on Facebook. Recipes may not be reprinted without permission from Angela Shelf Medearis.

(c) 2018 King Features Synd. Inc., and Angela Shelf Medearis


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