Our refrigerator and pantry runneth over, with all sorts of interesting things. Root vegetables and winter squashes seem to be everywhere, and why not? It’s certainly the season for them.
I have come to love eating seasonally. We spent the spring and summer eating ourselves silly with things like asparagus, watermelon, peaches and okra – to the point when they are no longer available, we’re not sorry to see them go. But that’s okay, because by the time their seasons roll around again, we’ll be anxious for them once more.
Right now we’re awash in apples, winter squashes, carrots, parsnips, beets and potatoes of all varieties. Most of these will keep for some time if a little thought is put into how they are stored, but there’s certainly no excuse not to fully enjoy them now. And since the weather has turned chilly and we’ve taken possession of another side of beef, we can and will enjoy them in a hearty beef stew.
Don’t let the list of ingredients deter you; this is a pretty easy recipe. You start it on the stove, but finish it off on the oven – a necessity the day I made it, since we were in the midst of canning a bushel of green beans. Other than stirring it occasionally, you can pretty much forget about it for an hour and a half, then add the vegetables and forget about it again for another half hour or so. It’s just delicious, too – the addition of the apple cider lends the stew a pleasant hint of tart sweetness.
Leave out the new potatoes and it’s Whole30 compliant, but I really liked them in this dish.
- 3 pounds stewing beef, cut into 2″ cubes
- 2 tablespoons tallow or other cooking fat
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups beef stock, preferably homemade
- 2 cups good quality apple cider
- 2 cups new potatoes, halved
- 2 cups carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces
- 2 cups parsnips, peeled and cut into large pieces
- 2 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1″ cubes
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Heat the tallow in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Pat the stew meat dry and brown on all sides without crowding, working in batches if necessary. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Reduce heat to medium low and add the onion to the Dutch oven. Cook, stirring frequently, until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Return the beef to the pot and sprinkle with the basil, thyme, salt pepper and tapioca flour. Stir to coat evenly and cook for another minute or two. Slowly stir in the beef stock and apple cider; add the bay leaves.
- Cover the Dutch oven and place in the oven. Braise, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours, or until the meat is fork tender.
- Stir in the potatoes, carrots, parsnips and squash. Cover and return to the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
- Nutrition (per serving): 484 calories, 13.9g total fat, 156.6mg cholesterol, 435.6mg sodium, 1700.1mg potassium, 38.7g carbohydrates, 6.1g fiber, 6.9g sugar, 53.8g protein