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Monday, October 20, 2008

A simple yet delicious fall stew

As the temperatures drop down (sorry to bring this up), I feel that my energy levels go down too, and it makes me think of stew. But not just any stew. A stew that is easy to make, with good basic ingredients, a nice piece of meat that cooks fairly quickly, and an unfussy recipe.

Although cooking a stew for 3-4 hours will warm your house and warm your heart for 3-4 hours, it IS fall and I want to spend as much time in the great outdoors as possible and take advantage of a sunny day before the weather gets too cold.

Sunday was nice and sunny so we took the kids Farrel McWhirter Park in Redmond. It was really gorgeous there. See the little people and swings?

When we came back home I had half an hour to prepare the stew and 1 ½ hours to cook it in the oven. The recipe below was inspired by Jamie Oliver’s Jool’s favorite beef stew recipe from his jamie’s dinners cookbook, with some shortcuts and a few changes that I’ve made to make it faster to make and bake.

A Simple Fall Stew

Makes 4-6 servings

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, peeled and medium chopped
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
1 ½ - 2 lb. beef chuck, cut into 2 inch pieces
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 carrots, peeled and halved
½ a butternut squash, halved, deseeded and roughly diced
2 handfuls of Jerusalem artichokes, peeled
4 – 6 small potatoes, peeled and cut in half
a handful of fresh sage leaves
2 tablespoons tomato purée
2 cups red wine (I used shiraz)
1 cup water (or use stock, if you have any)
zest of 1 lemon
a handful of parsley, leaves picked and chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees.
Put oil and butter into a large pot. Add onion and sauté over medium heat until softened. Add garlic and cook 1 minute.
Add the meat and all the vegetables, the tomato purée, wine and water/stock, sage leaves. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper and salt, and gently stir. Bring to the boil, place a lid on top, then cook in the oven until the meat is tender, about 1 – 1 ½ hours, or until a piece of meat falls apart easily when you test it with a fork.
Before serving, sprinkle the lemon zest and chopped parsley and mix together.

Nice, isn’t it?!

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