Saturday, March 7, 2009

Beef Stew

Once again, the weather here has been all over the place. Last weekend, we had a high of 25°F (-4C), with snow, and bitterly cold north winds. Saturday, we were eating beef stew, and Sunday, roast chicken with all the trimmings. The past few days our temps have been in the 70’s and 80’s and we’re considering rolling out the BBQ.

Weather aside, this has been a horrendous week for me as I am trying to quit smoking. As of this moment it has been 6 days, 16 hours and 39 minutes since my last cigarette, and believe me, I have suffered through every waking moment. %-(

I have been thinking of quitting for some time, but the recent problems with my gums gave me the kick up the arse I needed. The dentist told me my gums would have more chance of healing if I quit smoking. But the real clincher was, he told me if they didn’t heal I would need surgery for bone grafts on three of my teeth. Needless to say, that scared the shit out of me, and gave me the impetus to do something about it.

This week, I have found it very difficult to do any writing, I just can’t do it without a cigarette smoldering in the ashtray. I find myself unable to concentrate, and end up wandering listlessly around the house, gazing out of the window, or fiddling with pens and pencils, or crushing a piece of silly putty to a gloopy mess. Nothing satisfies though, as there is something missing from my life. It’s not that I’m craving nicotine, because this patch is feeding me a regular dose of that, but I am craving the simple pleasure of smoking.

I do so agree with Mark Twain’s sentiments,
"...when they used to tell me I would shorten my life ten years by smoking, they little knew the devotee they were wasting their puerile words upon -- they little knew how trivial and valueless I would regard a decade that had no smoking in it!"

But that’s because I’m an addict. Addictions, however, can be broken, and I am determined to do the best I can to break mine. Wish me luck.

BTW, I should mention, that I am back on solid food again. The only things I have to avoid are crisps/chips, hard fruit such as apples, and uncooked veggies like carrots.

Anyway, enough of my driveling on, time for some beef stew. In this recipe you can pretty much use whatever veggies you have hanging around the fridge.

Beef Stew


1 lb. beef stew meat
¼ cup all-purpose flour, seasoned with cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups beef broth/stock
1 large onion, divided, half chopped into big chunks, the other half just chopped
½ a rutabaga peeled and cut into chunks
3 carrots, sliced
1 green pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks
4 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 leek, white and pale green parts (thoroughly cleaned) and sliced
1 parsnip, peeled and sliced

  • Put flour in a Ziplock bag, season with cracked pepper, add the beef stew meat and toss until coated.
  • In a large soup pot, or Dutch oven heat olive oil over a medium-high heat. Add the flour coated beef to the pan, season with more black pepper, and sauté until lightly browned. Add the large chunks of onion and sauté for a further minute or so. Add the beef broth/stock to the pan, bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer covered for 1 hour.
  • After 1 hour, throw all remaining veggies into the pan. If more liquid is required add another cup of broth, or just a cup of water will do. Return to boil, reduce heat, and simmer covered for about 40-45 minutes until all veggies are tender and stew has thickened.
  • About half way through this period of cooking check seasoning and adjust if required, toss in a bit of paprika if you like.

Serve with crusty bread. I, of course, couldn’t resist adding a few dumplings during the final 25 minutes of cooking. :-)


Sara said...

Good luck with your quitting efforts - the stew looks quite delicious.

Lynda said...

I'm glad that you can have food again and this stew looks so good!Stew is my favorite winter food, but you are right about the weather the last few days.I'm itching to break out the grill too!
Good luck beaking the habit.I watched my parents go through that and know that it's hard. Take care!

Paula said...

Wow, Jan, good for you! I'm sending you lots of good success and perseverance vibes. I'm glad you're back on regular food, almost, and I'd gladly have both your stew and warm weather. I've not had rutabagas or turnips! And, of course, I want to snatch those dumplings right off the screen. YUM!

Donna-FFW said...

Jan this stew looks amazing. Just amazing! I wish you the best of my most sincere luck with the smoking. Sending you some good vibes.XXOO

Emily said...

Ahh, beef stew. Very comforting stuff!

Good luck with quitting smoking. Keep us updated. I'm so proud of you! You can do it! You've got to find some way to keep you distracted from it. Gum? Coffee? Hard candy? I'm just trying to think of something.

Cheryl said...

Ohh jeez that looks good, I need to make beef stew before the weather warms up! contrats on quitting smoking I am proud of you!

Beth said...

My Mum gave up when she was 50 after a health scare. She smoked for 30 odd years and gave up over night. Good luck - I know first hand how difficult it is

Jeena said...

Lovely stew and I would not resist the dumplings either. :-)

Lakeland Jo said...

I wish I could have a bowl of this, you can't have any cigs and I can't have any food. What a pair eh?

The Blonde Duck said...

Good luck! Quitting is hard!

Jason said...

Jan-I wish you the best of luck in quitting, I've never been a smoker, but have had friends that are and it's a bitch to quit!
Also, I'm happy to hear you can eat normal food again, I think giving that up would be worse for me than anything in the world.
Oh, and for the beef stew, yum! This is one of my favorites :) I have a beef stew recipe sitting on my laptop as we speak waiting to be published!

Maria said...

I hope this is keeping you warm!! I am sick of cold temps!

Pam said...

Oh Jan, this looks amazing. I love the dumplings on top. It's snowing and cold today - this would warm me right up.

Denise said...

Hi Jan, you can do it, you can do it, keep it up, keep it up :)))) It is so hard to quit but you will reap the rewards in so many ways and if you hang in there it won't be long before you see them yourself. I'm glad you can eat solid food again, which means you're healing nicely. Also thanks for this very yummy stew recipe. I can't wait to try it.

Mediterranean kiwi said...

-4C - wow, that is cold; you need that stew, and it looks so filling

Sophie said...

MMMMMMMMM....your beef stew looks really appetizing!!! MMMMM...

The Blonde Duck said...

That depends on trading relatives. Do they buy you aprons and pie?

Kevin said...

That beef stew looks good. I like the addition of the dumplings.

Jackie said...

Glad you added the dumplings. It wouldn't be beef stew without them.