This one is for the hockey moms and ski bunnies. Or the working dads, busy parents and weekend entertainers. It's even for those who are laid up with a pinched nerve in their back - the ones who can't seem to stand for more than eight minutes at a time before they need to resume their seemingly permanent position of lying on the hard wood floor. Basically, it's for anyone who can't spend a lot of time in the kitchen, but who hopes to put together a comforting meal to feed their herd of hungry people.
The assembly of this meal is easier than trying to get to the phone to order a pizza. It's a simple process of placing meat in the slow cooker and topping with all the liquids. Arrange the spices and citrus on a square of cheesecloth and tie together to create a little scented sachet. Add it to the pot, cover and cook for 6-7 hours or until the house smells as though you've spent all day in the kitchen, when in reality you've been laid up on the living room floor reading books from an awkward position.
When the famished troops arrive at your doorstep serve the stew atop a cauliflower and goat cheese mash, then pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Even if you really didn't do much.
Winter Beef Stew
- 2 pounds stewing beef
- 1/2 bottle red wine
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1 can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 whole nutmeg
- 10-15 whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 12-15 pices of thinly sliced orange rind
- 5 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 cups frozen peas
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
Place the beef in the cooker. Cover with the wine, beef stock, tomatoes, worcestershire sauce, olive oil and brown sugar and stir to combine.
Lay the bay leaf, citrus peel, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon stick on a piece of cheesecloth and tie the ends together to make a spice bag. Add to the crock pot along with the carrots, and cover. Cook on low for 6-7 hours.
When the stew is ready, remove the spice bag from the pot and add the frozen peas. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the peas are thawed and cooked. Remove 1/2 cup liquid from the pot and mix together with the cornstarch to create a slurry. Add it back to the stew and cook until thickened. Serve over cauliflower mash (recipe below).
- 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 2 medium potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1/3 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 tablespoons goat cheese
- salt and pepper
Cook cauliflower and potatoes in a pot of salted boiling water for 10-12 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
While the veggies are cooking, combine the milk, butter and rosemary in another small pot and simmer until the butter is melted and the liquid is fragrant with the rosemary.
Drain the cauliflower and potatoes and return to the pot. Remove the rosemary from the pot and pour the milk mixture over the cauliflower. Add the goat cheese and mash until everything is well combined.