Dust Off The Dutch.

As you may know by now, it really is my favorite time of year again... boots, sweaters, scarves, football, and dinner in the dutch oven virtually every night. Yesterday was the quintessential fall day, it was overcast and a bit misty, the air was crisp and cool, and all I wanted to do was cuddle up with a good book (in reality all I wanted to do was cuddle up and watch some college football). Unfortunately, I had work to do. This weekend, I had to scout locations for a whole bunch of mini photo shoots I have to do in the next couple of weeks. When I looked out the window, I knew when I got home I was going to want something warm and hearty for dinner, so I decided to get down the dutch oven and make some Rainy Day Stew. 

There's very few pots, pans, utensils or kitchen tools that I think every kitchen should have, for the most part I think most "tools" are a little excessive. I mean c'mon an avocado slicer... really? However, on that short list of things you must have, a dutch oven is number one or two. I use it so often, especially in the fall and winter, I wish I had two. If you don't have a dutch oven, it's okay... you can still make this amazing stew, you'll just have to use a saute pan and a big soup pot. What the dutch oven allows you to do is keep a constant temp going as you brown your meat, saute your veggies, and make the base of your stew, and most importantly, it also helps you keep a true simmer going without things burning or sticking to the bottom of your pot. 

This recipe has a little more prep than I normally like, however it's totally worth it. It makes a HUGE pot of stew, enough for you to share with your neighbors or freeze for a night when you're really not wanting to cook dinner. 

Rainy Day Stew

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Step-By-Step

get all your ingredients together and prepped...

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carrots in bite size pieces...

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dice your celery...

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cube the potatoes...

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next, season your lean stew meat and fill a brown paper sack with some flour...

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add the beef and shake it up...

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brown the beef in two batches, don't overcrowd the pan...

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set the beef aside...

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deglaze the pan with some beef broth...

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cook the onions with a pinch of salt...

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add the carrots and celery...

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make a little well for the tomato paste, let the paste sit there a bit, this will add a nice smokey flavor to the paste... 

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add the mushrooms...

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stir it all up and let it all cook a bit...

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deglaze the pan with some beer... it should bubble and smoke...

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add the potatoes and beef then fill the pot with beef broth...

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next add the oregano, thyme, worcestershire sauce, and balsamic...

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bring to a boil and let cook for 5 minutes at a boil...

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bring down to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, add the sugar, and then cook uncovered for 10-15 minutes, serve with some hot, crusty, toasted bread, and enjoy!

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RAINY DAY STEW

 

INGREDIENTS

11/2 lbs. lean stew meat

1/2 cup or so all purpose flour

meat seasoning (salt, pepper, garlic powder, montreal, really anything you use on your meat)

1 diced onion

4 large carrots

2 small sweet potatoes

2 small baking potatoes

1 heaping cup mushrooms

1 head celery

6 cloves garlic crushed

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 cup light beer

beef broth - about 48 oz

1 heaping teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon oregano

1 tablespoon worchestershire sauce

1 tablespoon balsamic

2-3 tablespoons sugar

salt

pepper

olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

Start by prepping the veggies - dice onion, chop carrots, dice celery, cube potatoes, etc.

Get the beef ready by seasoning it with some sort of meat seasoning

Fill a paper bag with flour and the seasoned meat and shake it until all the cubes are evenly covered

Cover the bottom of a heavy bottomed pan/dutch oven with olive oil - let it heat up on a medium heat and coat the pan evenly

Brown the meat - you don't want to cook it all the way through, you just want the insides pink and the outside brown all the way around - don't overcrowd the pan, it will most likely take two batches to get all the meat brown, if you have to, add some more olive oil

Set the meat aside and deglaze the pan with a splash of beef broth - it should steam and bubble, Use a wooden spoon to scrape up the bits

Add a splash of olive oil and then cook the diced onions with a sprinkle of salt until almost translucent - about 5-7 minutes

Add the carrots and celery, cook until tender

Add the crushed garlic and let cook 2-3 minutes or so

Make a well in the middle of the pan and add the tomato paste

Let the tomato paste get hot and maybe a little brown in the middle of the pan - about 2 minutes

Give the mixture a good stir then add the mushrooms

Deglaze the pan with beer - it should steam and bubble, let it do this for 2-3 minutes

Add the potatoes and beef and cover with beef broth

Add the thyme, oregano, worcestershire sauce, and balsamic

Bring the mixture to a boil and let boil 7-10 minutes

Take it down to a simmer then cover and cook about 30 minutes

Add the sugar, and any salt and pepper to taste

Give it a good stir then cook uncovered for 10-15 minutes - the potatoes should be soft and the meat should be tender

Serve hot with some rice or crusty, toasted bread

 

notes:

If you're going to freeze half of it, let it cool completely, then freeze