A bubbling pot of beef stew on the stove has a way of settling people at the end of a busy day. November’s cold air and brisk wind can feel refreshing in small doses, but can make a person feel like hibernating by the end of the day! I start beef stew in mid-afternoon, so that the earthy aroma fills the house by the time others arrive from work and school. I enjoy watching my loved ones peel off coats and scarves, rub cold hands together, and sniff the air with wind-nipped noses. Invariably, they smile. That’s well worth a few minutes of prep time!
Ingredients (Makes 3 quarts)
3 pounds chopped beef (often labeled “Beef Stew” at the market)
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup oil
6 cups vegetable juice (such as V8)
3 cups water
1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
1 tablespoon finely diced fresh rosemary
8 cups “root and tuber” vegetables, peeled and cut into chunks (any combination of potatoes, yams, carrots, onions, etc.)
Step 1) Combine flour, nutmeg, paprika, and black pepper. Add to a plastic bag (such as a disposable grocery bag) with the beef, and shake gently to coat the beef.
Step 2) Working in two batches, add half of the oil to a large stockpot on medium-high heat. Add half of the beef and brown with stirring for 3 – 5 minutes. Remove beef with a slotted spoon and set aside. Prepare the other half of the beef in the same way. Remove all of the beef and set aside, but don’t wash the stockpot!
Step 3) To the same stockpot, add vegetable juice, water, and Herbes de Provence. Bring to a boil. Add beef, stir, and reduce heat to simmer (covered) for one hour.
Step 4) After one hour, add 8 cups of vegetables as well as the fresh rosemary. Simmer, uncovered, for approximately 1 hour or until vegetables are fork tender. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking at the bottom of the pot. If mixture becomes too thick, add water or vegetable juice 1/4 cup at a time.
Step 5) Serve hot with crusty bread or wide noodles. Enjoy!