Storm’s a comin’ to these here parts. Rain, and lots of it. Wind gusts of 80 kilometres per hour. I’m betting Rosie Beaucoup will be on high alert. Some people rely on Environment Canada or the Canadian Hurricane Centre for weather updates. Not 2.0 and I – we’ve got Rosie Beaucoup. Since Hurricane Juan hit us in 2003, Rosie has become a storm tracker. A woman obsessed. She issues her own warnings, storm watches and weather related news. “Have you got water boiled and in thermoses? Have you got flashlights and an emergency radio?” Oh yes, Rosie Beaucoup, you bet we do.
For a while, I was worried that Rosie would trade in one or all of her children for Chris St. Clair. He works for The Weather Network here in Canada. Apparently, Rosie thinks he’s more dependable than her own kids, and generally more agreeable. She’ll often refer to him just as Chris, like he’s already joined our family or something, and we’re all on a first-name basis. “Chris says that the asteroid probably won’t hit us.” Like Chris knows anything about asteroids.
Anyhoo, you know what tastes good on a stormy day? Stew. Stew will warm your bones on a cold fall day. Stew will melt some of your stress away, and make you think things are going to be just fine – no matter what Rosie has told you the weather is going to do to you. I made this particular bone-warmer on the weekend, and then we ate the leftovers until Wednesday. It is a delightfully hearty and tasty stew, and it makes one huge honkin’ pot of awesomeness. (I wonder if Chris knows how to make stew?)
So this storm that’s a comin’? It will hit tomorrow, on Remembrance Day. Appropriate for the mood of the day, I suppose, but still, I hate to think of the Veterans being pelted with wind and rain. They’ve done enough. If I could bring each of those Veterans a big bowl of stew I would. Instead, I will stand with them in the wind and the rain. It’s the least we can do, wouldn’t you say?
. . .
Note: I have a BIG slow cooker (it holds 6 or 7 quarts), if you have a wee one, you may need to adjust the quantities.
Slow Cooker Beef Stew
recipe: inspired by many
- 2 lbs of stewing beef, trimmed and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 medium sized onions, chopped into large pieces
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 4 carrots, chopped
- about 20 mini-potatoes, cut large ones in half, leave smallest ones as is (I like to use a mix of yellow, red and blue, no need to peel)
- 1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes (I use plum tomatoes)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 3 cups sodium reduced beef broth, divided
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and then lightly brown the meat in batches. Transfer browned beef to a plate and set aside.
Dump the tomatoes into the slow cooker (juice and all). Crush them with a potato masher or the back of a spoon. Add the onions, celery, carrots and potatoes. Sprinkle the Italian seasoning over the vegetables and then add the beef and any accumulated drippings. Pour 2 1/2 cups of the beef broth over the beef and vegetables. Give the mixture a quick stir. Add the bay leaves.
Cover and cook on low for 8 – 10 hours.
About 20 minutes before serving, add the peas (no need to defrost first), salt and pepper. In a small bowl whisk together the flour and remaining 1/2 cup of beef broth, creating a smooth paste. Stir into the stew. Replace the slow cooker cover and cook until thickened (about 15-20 minutes).
Remove the bay leaves before serving.