As fall creeps around the corner, so does the craving for hearty soups and stews. At least it does at my house. It’s almost like our stomachs know that the season is changing far before our minds do (or far before our minds want to admit it!). Nothing screams comfort like a cozy day inside with the savory smell of stew on the stove filling the air.
I’m a summer girl. Always have been. Always will be. The thought of winter makes me quiver with disgust. And I suppose that’s because winter here in our current home of Northern North Dakota can be more than cold. Temperatures like -46…. (yep… you read it correctly; NEGATIVE forty six) that’s just not right. That just shouldn’t happen. But, needless to say, it is inevitable. And most fall days for me are spent dreading the inevitable. And that’s probably because fall lasts about, oh, two weeks here, usually. BUT, with that being said, I really do like the fall weather. And I really do like stew season. And I try to make it a point to savor the things I do love about the season, while I can. Even if it is short lived.
A chilly day, everyone bundled up inside with a book, good movie, or maybe a puzzle, the quiet and still of the evening, the smell of a simmering pot of stew and maybe even fresh bread in the oven… it reminds me of home as a child. And there is nothing more comforting.
Yesterday happened to be one of those days. Sweat pants and snuggly blankets where in order. And so was a big ‘ol pot of hardy beef stew. The family said it was the best I’ve ever made. But, I’m convinced that the first stew of the season is always the “best I’ve ever made” because after a busy (and well loved) summer, it just feels so good. Yep, food can feel good.
- garlic salt
- 1 onion, diced
- half a garlic clove, minced
- 6 or 7 carrots, washed and cut into medium sized pieces
- 6 medium potatoes, washed and cubed
- couple handfuls of fresh green beans, washed and cut into bite size pieces
- 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
- about 4-6 cups beef broth
- 1-2 lbs. stew meat (I use a lot because, well, our roots are still firmly planted in Wyoming and that’s just how us Wyomingites roll)
- Shaved parmesan cheese (optional, but who can deny cheese??)
- In a shallow pan, sauté the onions, garlic, carrots and potatoes in about 1/4 stick of butter until browned and getting tender.
- In a large stock pot melt 1/2 stick of butter. Throw in the stew meat and sprinkle with garlic salt. You can add more to taste as the meat gets done well enough to taste. Brown and cook the meat to desired “doneness”. I keep it a little rare because, um… like I said, we’re from Wyoming. Need I mention more? Plus, I really like a stew with very tender meat. So, I would suggest not overcooking it and keeping in mind that it will continue to cook as it simmers.
- Once ready, add the sautéed potatoes and carrot mixture to the meat. Throw in the green beans and the can of diced tomatoes. Mix well and then pour in enough beef broth to cover the meat and veggies plus and inch or so. Let simmer on low for about 15 minutes, or until all veggies have reached desired firmness (or lack thereof).
- Serve with shaved parmesan cheese and let the whole family enjoy!