There’s a wonderful children’s book that I used to read to my kids when they were younger, called “That’s when I’m Happy“. It’s about a little bear and his parents and each page is devoted to his most happiest moments. As winter weather approaches, with my family cuddled on the couch with their favorite books, and me in the kitchen creating deliciously fragrant stews, that’s when I’m happy! The process of chopping veggies and layering flavor upon flavor into the large pot puts me in a wonderfully relaxed mood. Add in some mellow and passionate female acoustic folk music and life is perfect!
There is something very special about creating a hearty stew. My grandmother, Nana Terri, taught me years ago that the greatest way to create deep rich flavor in a soup or stew is to add each ingredient one at a time and let the pot come up to a boil again and again in between each layer. Since then, there have been times where I have nurtured my stews and taken the time to add each ingredient in one at a time… and of course, there have been other times, when time was of the essence! Though the quicker version was delicious as well, there was a depth of flavor to the ‘nurtured’ stew that always makes me think of her with a smile!
- 1 TBS olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 pound chopped stew beef The cut of meat is preference. You can take a chuck roast and chop it into cubes or a London broil.
- 2 quarts beef broth you can use homemade or store bought bone broth instead.
- 1 quart water
- 6 carrots rough chopped into 1-2 inch pieces
- 4 stalks celery rough chopped into 1-2 inch pieces
- 1 large white potato peeled and rough chopped into 1-2 inch pieces (optional-- leave out if following AIP diet; can substitute with rutabaga and also create roux with cassava flour to thicken stew)
- 1 pound bag of frozen green peas
- 1 pound bag of frozen chopped green beans
- 1 1/2 + 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp cracked pepper
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes (optional-- leave out if following AIP diet)
- 2 bay leaves (be sure to remove bay leaves before serving stew)
- 1/2 tsp ground celery seed
- 1 TBS lemon juice
- 1 TBS whole grain mustard or dijon mustard
- 1 inch piece kombu seaweed (helps to alkalize stew and add flavor)
- 1 tsp dried or fresh thyme
- Heat oil in large soup pot. Caramelize onion until soft and translucent.
- Once meat is at room temperature, salt meat with 1/2 tsp sea salt and add to pot to brown meat.
- Add beef broth and water to pot and bring up to boil.
- Add remaining ingredients and bring up to boil again.
- Simmer and stir periodically until stew is reduced and thickened (about 2 hours).
- Remove bay leaves before serving and enjoying!