......Snowed in!

.....Perfect opportunity to relax, cook, bake, and make TWO trips to the grocery store.

There was a threat of snow and having lived in D.C. for most of my life I know that either it won't snow at all or the city will be buried.  Surprisingly we actually got snow...lots of it....over a foot of it actually!

I was supposed to run with my running group this morning at 8:00 AM.  That was canceled.  I get to sleep in!  I was then supposed to work a lunch party at the restaurant.  That was canceled.  I get to relax and have a leisurely breakfast and cook a stew for dinner!  I've been wanting to make a stew for a while for several reasons.  First, I love stews.  For some reason slow cooked meat, vegetable, wine, onions and time just meld together and create something amazing.  Second, it's the perfect dish for my lifestyle right now.  I need something that will keep longer than a day or two, that will get better with time and that I can easily re-heat when I come home late from events.  Stew it is!

To find a receipe I went back to my fool proof chef.  Jamie Oliver.  He is one of my first favorite "celebrity" chef. His recipes are fairly simple, straight forward, classic and delicious.

Jool's Favorite Beef Stew
Jamie's Dinners
the essential family cookbook

olive oil
1 onion - chopped
a handful of sage leaves
1 3/4 lbs stewing steak or beek skirt (I used chuck) cut into 2 inch cubes
flour to dust cover the meat in
 2 parsnips, peeled and quartered

4 carrots, peeled and halved
1/2 a butternut squash, de-seeded, and roughly diced 

some small potatoes (I left these out)
2 tbl of tomato puree

1/2 a bottle of red wine 
1 1/4 cup beef broth

Preheat the over to 300 degrees.  Melt the butter and olive oil in your pan then add the onions and sage leaves and let them cook for a bit.  While this is cooking, salt and pepper your beef cubes and lightly cover them in flour (this will thicken the sauce).  
Note: I slightly alerted this recipe for two reasons.  First, I omitted one of the two parsnips because the grocery store only had one.  I guess "snow storm" means "go buy all the parsnips".  I figured this wouldn't change the recipe too much. Second, I had a strawberry blonde moment and bought an acorn squash instead of a butternut squash.  I only realized my mistake when I got home when it was too late.  I just went with it.  While it tasted just fine the acorn squash completely disintegrated in the stew and turned into mush.  The stew tasted GREAT but it didn't look all that pretty.  Next time I'll try it with butternut squash.  
Once the meat is floured go ahead and put it in the pot, along with all the chopped up vegetables, the 1/2 bottle of wine, tomato puree (I used tomato paste), beef brother and a little salt and pepper.  Bring it to a boil, cover it

Jamie recommends you cook the stew in the oven for 3-4 hours depending on the size of the chunks of meat and how fresh the meat is.  I cooked it for 2 and a half and I think it was too long.  I wanted there to be more liquid in the stew but most of it was gone by the time I took it out of the oven.  To fix it i added a little more beef broth and it helped.  Just take a peek once and a while and check on your stew.

[Insert text message from the restaurant Maite D'.  My dinner event was canceled. Horray!]  Time to make dough for cookies!

On deck:

Basic sugar cookies to be turned into christmas cookies


Ina Garten's Rugelach



  1. Great post :) Love the pictures and that stew sounds yummy!!

  2. I made the stew tonight and it was delicious!