Looks what's coming our way this weekend . . . snow, snow, snow! (No throwing virtual snowballs at me!)
Surprised this Cali gals gets excited for snow? It continues to surprise me.
I remember one cold and snowy night my first winter in NYC - sitting in my little, red, t-top (yes, this LA girl brought here car with her), waiting for AAA to give me a jump, my fingers and toes painfully numb, crying and thinking "Why am I here?" But once I figured out proper winter gear - winter coats, scarves, hats, boots, gloves (not the pretty little purple cashmere ones my Mom sent me off with) and wool socks (apposed to the three pairs of thin cotton gym socks I'd brought with me) - winter became a wonderland.
And 10 years in the Adirondacks - lake-effect snow, sub-zero temperatures and a white landscape for four to five months - didn't diminished my child-like love of snow. I love watching it float to the ground, I love the snowy silence, and I still get a tad giddy when I peek out the window in the morning and see the familiar landscape of my yard blanketed in white.
Snow means so many wonderful things to me - downhill skiing, nordic skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, snowman building, hot chocolate, gingerbread cookies in the oven and the smell of a hearty soup, stew or chili in the kitchen.
With so many folks looking out their windows at a white landscape, and more on its way this weekend, I thought I'd share my family's favorite beef stew recipe - Super-Veggie Stew from America's Test Kitchen's Slow Cooker Revolution.
- You don't have to brown the meat, just plop it in.
- It's chock full of good-for-you veggies - kale, parsnips, carrots, potatoes.
- It's thick, rich and super flavorful. It's family-friendly and company-worthy. It's so good my boys gobble it up without a single protest over the "green stuff". In fact I credit this recipe with helping my boys develop their love of kale & chard.
Sure, there's a bit of prep - cleaning, peeling and dicing - but trust me, it's worth the effort.
Super-Veggie Beef Stew
from America's Test Kitchen's Slow Cooker Revolution
Serves 6-8 (though I'd say it serves more like 8-10, maybe even 12)
- 3 Tbs - Vegetable Oil
- 3 - Yellow Onions, minced
- 1/4 Cup - Tomato Paste
- 6 cloves of Garlic, minced
- 1 tsp - dried Thyme
- 1/3 Cup - All-Purpose Flour
- 1 1/2 Cups - Chicken Broth
- 1 1/2 Cups - Beef Broth
- 8 oz. - Portobello Mushroom Caps (approx. 2 caps), gills removed and cut into 1/2" cubes
- 1/3 Cup - Soy Sauce
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 4# Boneless Beef Chuck Roast, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2" chunks
- 12 oz. Red Potatoes (about 2-3), washed and cut into 1" chunks
- 4 Carrots, peeled, halved length-wise, sliced into 1" thick slices
- 3 Parsnips, peeled, halved, sliced into 1" thick slices
- 8 oz. Kale, cleaned, stemmed and sliced into 1/2" thick threads
- Heat 2 Tbs in large skillet over med-hi heat. Add onions, tomato paste, garlic and thyme. Stirring periodically, cook until onions are soft. Stir in flour and cook for about 1 minute. Whisk in chicken broth, making sure to break up any clumps of flour, scraping up bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Transfer mixture to slow cooker.
- Add beef broth, mushrooms, soy sauce and bay leaves to slow cooker, stir. Season beef chunks with salt & pepper and place them in the slow cooker.
- In a medium-size bowl, toss potatoes, carrots, parsnips with salt & pepper and 1 Tbs oil. Transfer vegetables to an 18" long piece of aluminum foil. Place a 2nd sheet of foil over the top and curl in the edges to create a sealed packet. Lay packet on top of stew. Cover and cook - 9-11 hours on low, 5-7 hours on high. (Per ATK recommendation, I try to opt for cooking on low when time allows.)
- Carefully remove foil packet from slow cooker and put on a plate or platter. Let the stew sit for 5-10 minutes, then, with a large spoon, skim off any fat that has risen to the top. Add kale to stew, stir, replace lid, and cook on high for 20-30 minutes (When I'm pinched for time, I cut this to 10-15 minutes with no ill effect.)
- Carefully open foil packet (there may still be some steam in there) and pour vegetables and any accumulated juices into the the stew. Stir in vegetables, taste, season with salt & pepper and serve.
- Note - This stew can come out very thick. If it's too thick for your taste, add a bit more beef broth, until you achieve the consistency you want. Don't forget to let it warm for a few more minutes - serving this stew lukewarm is a culinary injustice.
Do you love snow too? What are you favorite things to do or eat on a snowy day?
P.S. If you're looking to use your slow cooker more, but often find yourself disappointed with the results, I highly recommend Slow Cooker Revolution - not one recipe I've tried has disappointed. The Pork Roast with Cranberries & Orange I made from it last year for our Christmas Day supper was so delish I'm planning to make it again this year.
And Mama's hoping Santa, or one of my little elves, will bring me the new Slow Cooker Revolution, Volume 2: The Simple Prep Edition. (hint, hint)