Well today was one of the coldest winter days that we’ve had in a long, long time. A high of –18 with a wind chill of –40. Too cold to even walk my dogs, Kizzy and Bo. So, I concentrated on food to warm the body and soul. I made my banana raisin muffins and for supper we had buttermilk biscuits and good old fashioned beef stew. I had the stew lightly simmering all afternoon and just the fragrance alone made us feel warmer. My son, has a bad flu right now so I think my baking and cooking was right on the mark, what was needed this day.
Beef stew, is a what you remember and what you like affair. There are some basic guidelines, like it must have potatoes, beef, carrots, onion, celery and a good red wine. Also, for the best beef stew, try to stay away from salty bouillon cubes and instead go for a good beef stock, either bought or homemade. Start by sautéing your beef cubes in hot oil with salt and pepper until all sides are browned and the cooking process is well under way. Then start adding your ingredients. If you like onion, add lots of onion….personalize your stew! I peeled and cubed 6 medium potatoes, a whole onion, added pearl onions (jarred), 3 large carrots, 3 stalks of celery, 1 cup of red wine, a half of a turnip cubed, my home made beef broth (4 cups), 1 jar of tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste. I let this simmer for several hours, stirring and adjusting heat as needed. Sometimes I thicken the juice, but mostly I like it thin as the stew was meant to be.
I made a batch of buttermilk biscuits to sop up the juice. For dessert we were happy with the fresh muffins. We are warm, happy and blessed.