Dutch Oven · New England · recipe

Beef Stew in the Dutch Oven

Even though we are experiencing a bit of a thaw here in New England, it’s still Winter in my book. And, as far as I’m concerned, a hearty Beef Stew is a perfect mid-winter meal!

I’ve always prepared my Beef Stew in my slow cooker, but–as you probably know–lately I’ve been in love with a beautiful 5.5 quart Dutch Oven I received this past Christmas from my older sister.

Actually I’ve jumped so far into Dutch Oven cooking, I braved an hour journey to the South Shore to score two new Martha Stewart Dutch Ovens–in glorious Spinach green–being offered by someone on Facebook Marketplace…but that’s a story for another post…

Back to this unbelievable Beef Stew in the Dutch Oven…

What amazed me the most about making this Stew in a Dutch Oven instead of a slow cooker, is how unbelievably tender the beef was! Just melt-in-your-mouth juicy, tender and flavorful beef, which is way beyond what a slow cooker can achieve. And yet, still as simple and easy to make.

I started by browning my Stew beef (about two pounds) on top of the stove with a tiny bit of oil and, I believe, this is what made the difference in the flavor of the beef. After browning the meat, I loaded up my pot with baby carrots, some sliced celery, large chunks of red potatoes, a diced onion and minced garlic. I then stirred in some diced tomatoes, beef broth and a little tomato paste, to make the gravy and placed the covered pan in my preheated 375 degree oven to cook for three hours.

I’m a “peeker”. I am compelled to check in on things and make adjustments during cooking. Thankfully that was a good thing for this recipe, as I did need to add some water. I ended up adding about a cup of water at the end of the first and second hours, because some of the natural liquid evaporated during cooking. This was the only difference in cooking in a Dutch Oven versus a slow cooker, which naturally keeps liquids from evaporating by using a tightly sealed cover.

For those on a budget, this recipe easily makes eight complete servings and cost less than $15 to make. That’s less than $2 a meal! Plus you get the benefit of knowing you made it yourself–with no “unwanted” ingredients AND the comfort of a warm and wonderful home on a cold winter’s night.

Why not give it a go? And, if you do, let me know how you made out!

Ingredients:

  • Two pounds of fresh stewing beef from your butcher
  • Five or six larger red potatoes, cut into large chunks
  • Baby carrots or regular carrots cut into large chunks
  • Two ribs of celery, sliced
  • One or two onions, rough chopped
  • Minced garlic to taste
  • 1 can of petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 32 ounces beef broth (boxed broth) or substitute cans to equal 32 ounces
  • Salt and pepper
  • Water, if needed

Instructions:

  • On the stove top over medium high heat, brown the beef with a tablespoon of oil
  • Remove from heat and layer in potatoes, carrots, celery, onion and garlic
  • Pour in broth and diced tomatoes with juice and spoon in tomato paste
  • Cover Dutch Oven and put in preheated Oven for three hours, checking and gently stirring each hour. Add water if needed.

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Illness is a message

I’m sick today.  I’ve been fighting something and today I’m done fighting.  I decided I didn’t want to fight it today, so I’m sitting this morning out.

I’m pretty sure I “caught” whatever-this-is from one of Master Owen’s visiting friends, who was visiting last weekend.  The boy often forgot to cover his mouth when he coughed or sneezed.

I suppose I should be a little irritated about being sick, but I’m not.  It’s not as if I enjoy being ill–who does–but I’ve found it can provide me with some valuable insights about my life, my routines and what I’m trying to accomplish.  

I know, leave it to me to come up with a positive spin on being sick, but I believe there is meaning in the most mundane.  And, what’s more mundane than the average head cold or flu bug?  You are left lying in bed, knowing there are things to do but having no strength to do them.  Eventually you must make choices about what will get done and what will have to wait.  Perhaps you might even wonder why you do certain things at all.  I know I do.

Being sick also helps me ponder what life would be like if I weren’t the person I am or if I weren’t around at all.  If you are the head of your household, as I am, you probably know what I am talking about.  

Usually I’m the first one up and moving in the morning.  Heaven knows getting my tribe going in the morning is a monumental task.  Those constant issues of preparing for the day–breakfast, packing snacks and lunches and dealing with incomplete homework–keep me so busy I hardly think on the average day.  It’s only when I’m temporarily “benched” do I get a chance to see if anyone is following my established routine.

Just a little food for thought.  I’m afraid I don’t have much else today, nor the entry to share it.  I’m hoping a little rest will get me rolling again.

But, if you’re wondering how my tribe did without me, I’d say they still need me around for a while yet.  

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Ode to NyQuil 

Oh! NyQuil!

Why has it been so long since I felt your love?

I’d been suffering for days until I remembered how wonderful you are. How hard working. How steadfast your relief. 

Oh! NyQuil! How I do love thee!

I am probably breaking all kinds of copyright laws or trademark infringements by evoking your name, but I don’t care. I love you!  Let them lock me up for singing your praises!

You’ve made it so easy to love you! I don’t even have to drink you and feel that horrible shiver run through my body..for you come in gel tabs now!

Relief in such a small package! And so quickly!

Only a few moments before I cannot force my eyes to stay open. I no longer struggle to breathe. I sleep in a blissful slumber. Nothing wakes me! 

And–while I doze–you work your glorious magic! I awaken refreshed.  My nose, clear! My fever, gone. I draw a deep breath into my lungs and do not worry about a cough! Ah! I can breathe deeply!  

I’m not fully recovered, no, but I can function without wanting to punch the trainee working the counter at the post office two days before Christmas!  I can stand irritating little things once again, my friend! 

And I thank you, NyQuil. I feel so close to you right now. 

So close I would probably marry you. 

That is..if my country didn’t have a problem with that sort of thing, which it does. 

Oh…and then there’s coffee, to which I have already committed my waking hours. 

But, NyQuil…you’ve made life two days before Christmas livable again!  

NyQuil! You will always and forever be my bedtime pleasure.  I love you.