Some mornings start before the sun peeks through our southeast facing window. Early inspirations usually drive me to the kitchen to get a head start on the day. A fresh batch of coffee fuels me up to take my sharp knife to the cutting board and get started on lunch prep.
Now that the cold has finally sunk in to the Maine winter, soups and stews have become a daily addition to our meal plan. After making the trek to my basement root cellar, I choose a few veggies, grab a pack or two of stew meat and quickly head back upstairs before my toes get too cold.
Traditionally, making a stew can be a bit of a time consuming endeavor as the meat is usually dredged in flour then seared on all sides to create a crust of sorts that will "lock in" the flavor. While this technique certainly yields great results, I don't always wish to put in the effort, especially at 6 am. Instead, I rely on quality ingredients to slowly simmer and meld together, creating a nutritious and damn tasty stew that self thickens without the additional flour needed.
This recipe can be made in a crock pot and the started when you go to bed at night otherwise, get started on this in the morning so you can enjoy it for lunch on the same day. Fresh chopped herbs from my windowsill adds a nice, vibrant flavor and a touch of chili pepper relish provides a nice burst of heat.
Beef & Vegetable Stew
- 1 large onion, peeled, roughly chopped
- 2 medium carrots, sliced in 1/4 inch thick rounds
- 2 medium parsnips, sliced in 1/4 inch thick rounds
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced thin
- 1 pound grass fed beef, stew meat
- 2 turnips, peeled
- 1 cup dry beans, soaked in 4 cups of water overnight
- 2 quarts chaga tea, beef, or chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- sea salt to taste
- Fresh herbs for garnish - parsley, thyme, oregano, etc.
- Like mentioned above, soak the beans overnight in several cups of water. Add a few tablespoons of acv to the water and keep it somewhere warm.
- When ready, drain the beans and add them to a pot along with the beef and various vegetables mentioned.
- Since its winter, I have plenty of chaga tea on hand so I used that as the base. Add enough liquid to cover everything by about an inch.
- Cover, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer slowly until the meat and beans are tender and the veggies have broken down a bit, naturally thickening the soup.
- Taste, then season with sea salt. If you have verdurette on hand, add a few spoonfuls to the stew for a nice earthy/savory flavor.
- Enjoy with crusty sourdough and a glass of red. EnjoY!