Thursday, September 24, 2009


As anyone who knows me is already well aware, I have loved the weather this week. It's been cold and rainy. The mountains have been dusted with the first snow of the year. The kids have been wearing their raincoats to school. As for me, well, I've been in my kitchen. This week's posts have been reflecting that for sure.

Last night, Tom's brother Tim was here. He is in the Air Force and stationed in Nevada, when he's not deployed, that is. He came in for a very brief visit, and we really only had a few hours with him last night. All the big boys are going to the Great American Beer Festival tonight, and I'm sure they are going to have a good time. They don't get together nearly often enough, the four of them. I'm hoping that it becomes an annual ritual.

Since Tim was only here one night, I took a bit of a risk with a new recipe. I knew I wanted to make something warm and filling, something that screamed fall and offered him a welcoming hug. I decided to make beef stew, but I had to change it up a little. This isn't the beef stew you might be accustomed to. The ingredients aren't the ones traditionally found in it. No carrots. No potatoes. Not even beef stock. And when you see the recipe, be prepared to make a face. It doesn't really sound like the flavors would go together well. You're just going to have to trust me on this one.

It takes some time, but it's well worth the effort.

Strange Brew Beef Stew

Ingredients List

  • 3 pounds beef stew meat
  • 32 oz chicken stock
  • Large can of pears (29 oz), chopped, juice reserved
  • vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • half a stick of butter
  • lemon zest
  • bay leaf
  • ketchup
  • salt
  • pepper
  • cinnamon
  • ground cloves
  • dried thyme

Instructions - takes approximately 2 1/2 hours start to finish

  • In a large pot, brown beef stew meat in a little vegetable oil. I recommend doing it in a couple batches. Set aside.
  • Add butter to the pot and onions. Saute until onions are clear.
  • Remove from heat and add the following: 1 tbsp ketchup, 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp lemon zest, 1/2 tsp thyme, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1/4 tsp cinnamon and a pinch of ground cloves. Stir together, then add 1/3 cup flour.
  • Add chicken broth, a little at a time and stir to combine. Add pear juice.
  • Add one bay leaf and beef to pot, bring to a boil. Reduce, cover and simmer for one hour.
  • Add sweet potatoes, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
  • Add chopped pears and golden raisins.
  • Heat through. Remove bay leaf and serve.

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