Sunday Pot Roast Stew

Beef Stew in bowl

Pot Roast Beef Stew

Cold, wintry days scream for a hot stew at dinner time. This is the kind of stew that you get anxious as the bowl gets empty because you don’t want it to end. If I didn’t care about portion size or my waist size, I would have kept eating until this was all gone! This stew takes a little more time than we have to spend on week nights so it’s a great stew to make on a Sunday afternoon. Just put it all together and let it simmer until you’re ready to eat. We threw this together after looking for some recipes online. We couldn’t find a recipe that really matched what we wanted so we just picked the pieces we wanted to include in our stew. It really only takes about 1/2 hour to get the ingredients ready and cooked and then another 1 1/2 to 2 hours on a simmer.

I think of this recipe as having three steps. First you brown the meat. Then you get the vegetables cooked. Finally, you add the meat back to the vegetables and let the stew simmer for 2 hours.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds of roast cut into cubes (sirloin or chuck roast)
  • 2 tablespoons of bacon fat or oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon of bacon fat
  • 3 carrots, unpeeled, cut into 1/4 inch discs
  • 1 large (or two medium) yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 turnip, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 red potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 12oz can of beer (we used Michelob Ultra)
  • 1 tablespoon smoke paprika

Directions

Heat the first 2 tablespoons of bacon fat or oil in a large dutch oven.

Start by cutting your roast into cubes and getting the meat ready to cook. Then sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper and 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour. coat the meat thoroughly. Let it sit for a couple of minutes and the flour will be absorbed. Now, add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour and mix into the meat to give it a good coating.

Put the meat into the hot bacon fat or oil and brown for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally until the meat is browned on all sides. For example, while it was browning, we turned the meat every 2 minutes or so. Once browned, remove the meat into a heat-safe bowl. You could also brown this in 2 batches or use a big skillet where all the meat can be on one level. Our dutch oven didn’t allow us to have one layer so we had to mix it more than normal.

Stew beef browning in dutch oven

Stew beef browning in dutch oven.

Add the additional tablespoon of bacon fat to the dutch oven and let it melt. Once melted, add the carrots, onion, diced turnip and diced celery stalks. Cook over medium-high heat until the vegetables cook down for about 10 minutes.

Carrots, onion, celery carrots, onion, diced turnip and diced celery stalks cooking in the dutch oven.

Carrots, onion, celery carrots, onion, diced turnip and diced celery stalks cooking in the dutch oven.

Then, add the potatoes and garlic and gently fold into the other vegetables. Now add the thyme and rosemary and mix well.

All the vegetables and spices added to the dutch oven.

All the vegetables and spices added to the dutch oven.

Then add the meat back into the dutch oven and pour in the beef broth, beer and smoked paprika. Bring the mixture to a boil in the uncovered dutch oven.

The beef has been added to the vegetables and spices.

The beef has been added to the vegetables and spices.

Once you reach a boil, cover the pot and reduce for a simmer. Simmer for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the meat and potatoes are tender.

The pot roast stew simmering in the dutch oven.

The pot roast stew simmering in the dutch oven.

Our Sunday Beef Stew

This is our beef stew after it has simmered for a couple of hours. As you can see, the liquid has thickened up and become a nice, rich, brown gravy.

Potatoes with Ginger and Mint

Earlier this summer we bought a mint plant. It was part of our effort to create a more well-rounded herb garden. At some point we realized that 8 basil and 4 rosemary plants didn’t give us all the options we wanted. The mint plant has been the most bountiful but the problem is that we don’t really cook with mint, like ever. So, I’ve had to look up recipes for this culinary gem.

This time I chose potatoes because we have a bag of them and wanted to do something different with them .I was surprised that there were so many recipes that had potatoes and mint. I finally picked one from Martha Stewart as a starting point. Of course we modified it, mainly because I think she under seasons her food to make it more appealing to a wider audience. Sorry, but I like flavors so we doubled most of her ingredients!

This recipe has some ingredients that don’t sound like they should go together but it turns out really good. I guess if anything, I’d say it has a Middle Eastern flavor with a little Mediterranean influence.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 2 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
  • 3 tablespoons grated peeled fresh ginger
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups water, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3/4 cups fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime

Directions

First, heat 1/4 cup of oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Then, add the potatoes and 2 tablespoons of the ginger. (You’ll add the rest of the ginger towards the end) Cook this about 7 to 10 minutes, until the potatoes are brown. Then season with salt and pepper.

Next, remove the pan from the heat and add the water. Stir in the 1/4 teaspoon of salt, cayenne pepper, cumin and turmeric. Then return to medium-high heat and cook until the potatoes are tender and the water has evaporated. After about 10 minutes our potatoes were getting really tender but the water had not evaporated so we scooped out the potatoes and then reduced the water and then put the potatoes back in to finish them.

Finally, add the remaining ginger, the mint, lime zest, salt and pepper. Cook this until the mixture thickens, about 2 to 3 minutes. Once you’re done, stir in the lime juice.

We were really surprised by this recipe. You get a tartness from the lime but it’s not in your face and the mint gives just a subtle hint of sweetness without bringing a strong mint flavor to the dish.

German Potato Salad

I love potato salad and have ever since I was a little kid. Here’s a great one we made the other day that was nice for the cooler seasons when you aren’t in the mood for the traditional southern potato salad that is served cold because it can be served warm.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds red potato
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1/2 pound pancetta or bacon, chopped
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cups cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of your favorite mustard (just don’t use yellow mustard)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 8 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Directions

Place a large pot of cold water on the stove. Add your potatoes and onion powder (to help season the potatoes). Heat the water and potatoes to a medium heat and allow to cook until the potatoes are tender. Then, drain the water and allow the potatoes to sit until they are cool enough to handle. Cut the potatoes into small cubes and then move them to a bowl and cover with a towel to keep them warm.

Using a large saute pan, place the pancetta or bacon in the pan and cook until crisp. Then, remove the pancetta but keep the grease. Add the onions to the bacon grease and cook for 3 or 4 minutes, until they are soft. Add the vinegar and mustard and cook for 2 more minutes. Then add the canola oil, bacon and salt and pepper.

Add the hot dressing to the potatoes and gently fold it into the potatoes. Then, add the parsley and green onion. Gently fold this into to the potatoes, being careful not to mash up the potatoes as you stir in the other ingredients.