The past week has been a snowy, cold mess here in Maryland. Being from Chicago, I should be better at this kind of weather, but I’m not. Basically, all I want to do is sit around and drink hot chocolate while reading a book. That’s the good life, my friends. To further our winter ennui, Ben has been sick for the past week and a half. It’s very sad. However, yesterday was the first day he has felt more like himself, so we decided to venture out and play in the snow.
In addition to enjoying the snow, we needed to replenish our groceries. I had it in my head that I wanted to make a ham sometime this weekend so that next weekend, when it gets cold again, I can make some split pea soup. Anyway, Ben and I took an epic trip to the grocery store. This trip wasn’t epic in the sense that it was far (1.2 miles) or that we spent a lot, but epic in that it took ffffffoooooorrrrreeeeevvvvvvvveeeeeeerrrrr. Our journey took so long that the poor kid ate all of his Cheerios and I had to be “that mom” who buys her kid food to eat in the store because he is too hungry. An hour and ten minutes and two boxes of raisins later, we left the store for the fixings for my mom’s Vegetable Beef Stew, which I have changed for my own purposes.
This stew is the ultimate comfort food from my childhood. On cold or dreary days, it is the best at filling both your body and soul. This recipe also freezes really well, which can make it be a really easy dinner on a yucky night.
Vegetable Beef Stew
Hands on time, 30 minutes; Simmering time, 2 hours (minimum)
Makes about 8 servings for a main course, 12 for a side
2 lbs. stew beef (Pot roast works well. If you have pot roast, cut into 1″ cubes)
2 Tb olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, cut cross wise
4 14.5 oz cans or 2 29 oz cans of diced tomatoes, pureed
2 russet potatoes, cut in 1″ cubes
1/4 cabbage, finely sliced
4 cups frozen mixed vegetables
salt and pepper to taste
In a large, heavy bottomed pot (I used a Dutch oven), over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add in the onions and celery to soften. Once the celery and onions are tender, add in the beef, season with salt and pepper, and brown.
While the beef is browning, puree the tomatoes until they have a slightly chunky consistency. Add the tomatoes to the pot once the beef has browned.
After stirring in the tomatoes, add in the potatoes and cabbage. Adjust the seasonings. Bring the stew to a simmer and then reduce the heat. Let simmer uncovered for at least 1 hour. The longer you let it cook, the more the flavors will develop. if the liquid starts to look like it is reducing to much, cover the pot. An hour before serving, add in the frozen vegetables, cover, and let simmer for the remaining hour.
Serve with some nice crusty rye bread or grilled cheese sandwiches and you’re good to go! Enjoy!