The scents of a winter day

by admin on February 18, 2013

[edit: this was written a few weeks ago, but I forgot to hit ‘publish’ – oops!]

There is nothing quite like a bone-chilling late January day to make me want to fix something for dinner that will warm the body and soul. We have half of a cow coming next week so we are trying to finish off last year’s beef to make room in the freezer. My wife had taken out a couple of packages of stew meat to thaw out the other day and it was a perfect thing for a day that saw wind chills near zero and lake-effect snow limiting visibility to the end of the driveway.

I looked up my Grandma’s oven stew recipe (look at the end of this post for the recipe) to see if we had the necessary ingredients on hand and as luck would have it, we did. I chopped up the veggies while my wife mixed up the spices, tomatoes, and tapioca. Then, I got a skillet with some oil in it nice and hot and tossed the meat in there to brown and sear in the juices. Once the meat was done we added everything to an oven-safe pan and put it in the oven for the afternoon.

While that was going in the oven I got a batch of bread dough going in the bread machine so we could make half of it into buns and a small loaf of bread to have with our stew that night.

The bread was baking and it was getting late in the afternoon so I had to get my coffee fix. I rarely use our automatic drip brewer anymore. Our Presto Stainless Steel Percolator makes the best coffee day in and day out. No bland, plastic taste and it comes out piping hot – just the way coffee should be.

Using the Kyocera Ceramic Coffee Grinder (one of my favorite presents I received for Christmas) I ground up some Arabica Beans from Costa Rica, filled the percolator with ice cold water, and plugged it in.

The smells of oven stew simmering, bread baking, and coffee brewing filled the house with a wonderful smell that I could get used to on these cold winter days.

Grandma’s Oven Stew:

  • 2 lbs. stew meat (I like to brown the meat in a skillet with just a bit of oil before adding it to the stew)
  • 1 pkg. baby carrots
  • Approx. 5 potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. tapioca
  • 1 bay leaf

Place meat, carrots, potatoes (diced), and chopped onion in a baking dish. Combine tomatoes, salt, sugar, tapioca, and bay leaf. Pour the tomato mixture over the veggies and meat. Cover and bake at 250° for 5 hours. DO NOT PEAK!

The low temperature and long cook time are the key to getting the best flavor out of this stew. Enjoy!

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