Friday, December 5, 2008
It's been a rough week--Steve has been working almost every night and I am in the middle of a rather boring and tedious copy-writing assignment, plus Sebastien spent Tuesday night projectile vomiting every hour or so. It's amazing how a three year old wouldn't think to barf in the toilet or a bowl like the rest of us, but rather just every place but--like my bed, on the carpet, in the hallway, his own bed, on his carpet, on the couch, etc. I literally slept next to him with a large aluminum bowl in one hand and a towel in the other, waiting for the tell-tale signs of retching. I was thrown-up on twice.
But that is all behind me now. Friday is a day I always look forward to. I get to go grocery shopping and then I volunteer for lunch duty at Sydney's school--which is always rewarding. On my trip to Trader Joe's this morning, I found some organic stew meat and a package of pre-cut root vegetables including butternut squash, sweet potato and rutabaga. Next to the bags of prepackaged vegetables, was some prepackaged sage, which somehow called to me, so I threw it into my cart, feeling slightly guilty about the amount land-fill I was about to produce. (I felt even guiltier about not going to the farmer's market, which is only 2 blocks away, but I digress; at least I brought my own reusable bags.)
Once home, groceries delivered, kids picked up from school, I started thinking about dinner. I had taken some duck legs out of the freezer early in the morning, but they were still half -frozen, so I would save those for Saturday, when we had guests coming anyways. Perhaps chicken curry would be nice, but then I would have to cook something else for the kids and I hate making two different dinners.
Then I remembered I had recently read a recipe for beef stew that didn't require browning the meat first. Normally, I would be skeptical of this sort of short-cut, but it was from Jamie Oliver who rarely disappoints. In addition, I had a half bottle of French red wine in the fridge that was a few days old--and the stew would be a great way to use it up.
I simply switched up the recipe to accommodate my Trader Joe's loot and the dish was thrown together in mere minutes, even with Sebastien "helping" me. Feel free to use whatever root vegetables you have on hand in this recipe--carrots would be an obvious choice to add, or even Jerusalem artichokes. Your children will love this.
Beef Stew with Root Vegetables and Fresh Herbs
(Adapted from Jamie Oliver)
1 tblsp olive oil
1 tblsp butter
1 onion, peeled and chopped
a handful of fresh sage leaves
1.5 pounds beef stew
salt and pepper
2-3 tblsp white flour, for dusting
1 package peeled and cut root vegetables (or 3 cups butternut squash, sweet potatoes, parsnips etc.)
6 small yukon gold potatoes, cut in half
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ a bottle of red wine (I used a bottle of V-Rac Cotes Du Rhones)
1 cup beef stock
zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
a handful of rosemary, leaves picked
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees.
Heat olive oil and butter in a large dutch oven on the stovetop over medium heat. Once butter has melted, but not browned, add the chopped onion and sage leaves. Cook about 5 minutes. While onions and sage are cooking, sprinkle the meat with flour, salt and pepper, then add it to the pot, along with vegetables, tomato paste, red wine and beef stock. Bring everything to a boil and then place in the oven for 3-4 hours.
Combine lemon zest, rosemary and garlic in a small bowl. Serve stew in soup bowls topped with small amounts of the lemon zest mixture.