Under the glow of amber lights, in the comfort of our home, safe from the cool stormy winds rolling in – we ate heart warming stew. It did the body good and seemed to chase my cares away, if only for the duration of the meal. But that’s what good hot food can do, right? Remind us that we are blessed with provision even when things are haywire around us.
I’ve been a bit stressed lately in the last leg of the pregnancy and with some external issues in our life that we don’t really have much control over right now. It’s taking a lot of faith to get through and I’m ready for everything to just sort itself out! Ever feel like that?
Well, at least a bowl of something yummy, like stew, can help ease the troubles.
Chopping up vegetables, while the meat cooks in the oven, makes everything slow down and the methodical task is peaceful. I don’t have to worry about how dinner will turn out, because it’s straight forward; simple ingredients and steps. I can do that right now….simple. And when my home begins to heat up and smell savory, its like an old friend wrapped a wool blanket around me. It feels nice.
Once the meat is ready, the only thing left to do is add the vegetables and let it simmer for an hour. It takes care of itself, so I can take a deep breath and relax. The boys will be home from the park and an evening walk – when they come in their cheeks will be fresh and their bellies will be hungry and the stew will be ready.
- Virgin coconut oil, for searing
- 2 1/2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil or unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, cut into 6ths
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/3 cup of quinoa flour, or to cover
- 8 cups cold water (or chicken or beef broth, homemade or low-sodium canned)
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 zucchinis, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 4 medium carrots, chopped
- 4 roma tomatoes, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 to 3 teaspoons red wine vinegar, or to taste
- Heat a large Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Pour in enough oil to fill the pan about 1/4-inch deep. Season the beef generously with salt and pepper, and add to the pan. Saute half the meat, uncovered, stirring only occasionally, until well-browned, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to a plate. Repeat with the remaining beef. Discard the oil and wipe out the pan.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Return the pot to the stove and melt the coconut oil or butter over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 1 minute more. Add the reserved beef and scatter the flour over the vegetable and beef mixture (enough to lightly coat) and cook stirring until lightly toasted. Add the water or broth, and bring to a simmer. Tie the rosemary and bay leaves together with a piece of kitchen twine and add the bundle to the pot. Season with 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste. Cover and transfer to the oven. Cook the meat until just tender, about 1 1/2 hours. (This can also be done on the stove at a low simmer.)
- Remove pot from the oven. Skim the fat from the cooking liquid with a spoon or ladle. Add the zucchini, carrots,and the tomatoes, and bring to a simmer on top of the stove. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the liquid thickens and the vegetables are tender, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the herb bundle. Stir in the vinegar and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Divide among bowls and serve immediately.
- I served the stew over Arborio rice, so we had enough stew for 6 servings.