Today was one of those perfect rainy Sundays. The kind where you wake up to rain pouring down the windows and onto the back patio. The kind that makes you want to pull on your coziest over-sized sweater, savor a cup of rich, black coffee, and spend the day curled up with your family at home. And for us, it was almost that kind of day.
This weekend, Phill and I were fortunate enough to travel across the state to celebrate a wedding. It was the first time that we were both away from our little guy overnight, but it gave us the chance to stay out past his bedtime (7 pm) and gave us the opportunity to spend some much needed quality time, both with each other and with friends from college.
In total, Phill and I spent almost ten hours together in the car. Ten hours where we didn’t have to worry about entertaining a baby or folding all of the laundry. Ten hours of just us, together, talking and enjoying one another’s presence.
It is so easy to get sucked into a routine that is lacking. We both get caught up in the stress of working full time, coming home to care for our little guy, and attempting to keep up with household chores that by Simon’s bedtime, we are exhausted. And then, we fall into the routine of watching Netflix until one of us starts falling asleep (it’s me – I always fall asleep first – I blame being pregnant) and then we head upstairs to go to bed. The two uninterrupted five-hour drives we had this weekend were so fulfilling that neither of us minded driving through the rain to get home.
Eventually, we made it back home to the chaos of baby toys, bottles, and diaper changes. And then, we were able to enjoy this rainy Sunday as it was meant to be enjoyed – with cozy clothes, curling up together, and a hearty beef stew for dinner.
Because what better way to embrace this misty fall day, than with a stew?
Confession – I’ve never made a beef stew before. My go-to for soups are chicken or potato based, but a few days ago, we harvested the carrots and potatoes from our garden, so a beef stew sounded like the perfect way to enjoy what our garden gave us.
I read through half a dozen recipes and decided making a stew couldn’t be too difficult, so I gave it a try.
Turns out, beef stew is not only delicious, but incredibly easy to make. I’m excited to share this recipe with you – not only because I’m proud of myself for making a delicious dinner, but so you can have another staple to add to your list of winter meals.
Hearty Beef Stew
What you need:
- 1 ¼ lbs. of stew meat – beef cut into one inch chunks
- ⅓ cup flour
- Salt and pepper
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 4 cups of beef stock
- 3 cups potatoes, cubed
- 1 cup carrots, cut into one inch pieces
- 8-10 asparagus spears, broken into one inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon parsley
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 ½ ladles of broth
- An additional ⅓ cup of flour
- Place your stew meat into a bowl. Add ⅓ cup of flour, salt, and pepper. Toss meat to coat in flour and spices. Heat your dutch oven or stockpot with olive oil and sear your stew meat on all sides. Remove the meat from the stockpot and set aside.
- Sautee the onion and garlic (add more olive oil to your stockpot if needed) until onion is translucent and garlic is golden. Add the meat back into the stockpot, cover with beef stock, and cook on medium heat while you prepare the vegetables.
- Prepare your vegetables. Peel and cube your potatoes. Chop your carrots and asparagus into one inch pieces. This should take just long enough for your child to completely empty the recycle bin all over the kitchen floor and for him to go for a swim in the dog’s water bowl.
- Stir your vegetables into the stockpot, along with the parsley, paprika and tomato paste. Cook on low heat for an hour (at least). I let my stew simmer throughout Simon’s dinner, bath, and bedtime – so it was closer to 1 ½-2 hours.
- Take out about 1 ½ ladles of the broth from your stew and pour into a saucepan. Add ⅓ cup of flour and whisk together to make a thick roux. The broth should be hot enough that it will mix with the flour without needing to heat the saucepan.
- Pour the roux into your stew and mix well.
- Ladle out a generous portion of stew into bowls and serve with fresh bread. Yum!
This stew recipe may look intimidating based on the number of ingredients, but I promise you it is worth every savory sip!
And with that, we’ve come to the end of another weekend. Time to make a cup of tea, cozy up with a good book, and listen to the rain beat against the roof and fall down the chimney. I’m going savor every last moment of this rainy Sunday before the chaotic work week begins again.
May your heart and your soup bowls be full.