When my older sister was in college, she and her friends had a special food tradition of making stew every Tuesday – it was called Stewsday.

I’ve tried to uphold this tradition, but not hard enough. Last semester my roommate and I alternated regularly between her Taco Tuesday and my Stewsday, but then my crock pot started acting funny, and making stew seemed less appealing.

We have so many handy cooking devices in our apartments – rice cookers, a kitchen aid mixer, an immersion blender – that I had forgotten what it’s like to cook without them. But I didn’t need a slow cooker to make a stew, and a stew needed to be made.
(mostly because I bought 2 pounds of stew beef from the local meat co-op, but also because of the understandable absolute necessity of stew in life).

My roommate studied abroad in Ireland last spring, and requested that I make an Irish beef stew. I adapted a recipe from Epicurious.com, which turned out really well. It was really labor intensive, taking almost 3 hours if you count prep, but worth it.  Here’s my version:

Ingredients:

1.    2 pounds stew beef

2.    8 medium potatoes, cut into ½ inch pieces

3.    3 turnips

4.    9 cups beef broth

5.    2-3 tablespoons tomato paste

6.    1 ½ large onion, chopped

7.    7-9 garlic cloves, minced

8.    5-6 carrots, chopped

9.    1 tablespoon dried thyme

10.  ½ tablespoon dried parsley (or 2 tablespoons fresh parsley if it’s on hand)

11.  2 bay leaves

12.  ¼ cup red wine (feel free to add a little more)

13.  4 tablespoons oil/butter

14.  2 tablespoons flour

15.  ground pepper

photo-4

Directions:

  1. Cook the beef in your largest pot with 2 tablespoons oil for 5-7 minutes or until browned on both sides.  The pot you use now will eventually hold the entire stew.
  2. Add the broth, tomato paste, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, and wine.
  3. Let simmer, covered, for an hour, stirring occasionally.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in a big pot with 2 tablespoons oil or butter over medium high for about 10 minutes.
  5. Add the turnips and carrots and cook for 15-20 more minutes.
  6. When all the vegetables are done, add them to the stew (assuming it has already been simmering an hour).
  7. Quickly sauté the onions in the same pot, then add them to the stew as well.
  8. Let the stew simmer for another 40-50 minutes.
  9. Add the flour, one tablespoon at a time, and mix in very quickly. If the stew is already very thick before the flour, don’t bother with it.

This is a huge stew. I was cooking for five hungry people with big appetites, and I still had tons leftover.

beefpie

The next day, I used the leftovers to make a beef potpie.  I boiled down the stew for 20 minutes, to make sure it wasn’t runny. I bought piecrust from Weshop (yes, I could have made my own, but sometimes I do homework also) and made a double crust beef potpie, following the instructions on the box for the most part, but halving the cooking time.  So while the winter lasts, try this stew and beef potpie, and get two great, hearty meals.

- Miriam ‘13